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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, have got a bit of a problem with my Cee'd which I'm wondering if anyone could shed some light on.

Car is a 2017 GT Line diesel 5 dr.

When driving at speeds in excess of 60 mph on the motorway the steering feels loose; i.e. you have to take up slack before the car will respond to an input from the steering wheel and / or it will wander from its path left or right. This means the driver has to make an excessive amount of steering corrections to keep the car in its lane or on its desired path.

Whatever the issue is, it seems to be affected by the weather conditions. On a dry and warm day (10OC+) with no wind the problem seems to almost go away but on a day with lower temperatures, high winds or during particularly cold spells, the problem is that severe that the car is not safe to drive.

Known history of the vehicle

I’ve written this out as the car has been into 3 different garages already to try and diagnose the issue but they have had no joy.

The car is owned by the company I work for in Coventry.

06/01/21 – The car was given to me with approx 34k on the clock. The first time I turned the ignition on, the tyre pressure warning light was on. On driving the vehicle, the steering issue was also present which I put down to being associated with whatever was causing the tyre pressure issue. I got this checked out immediately and the front passenger side wheel was found to be slightly buckled. I got this professionally repaired expecting the steering issue to be resolved once this had been done. However it didn’t resolve the main problem, although the tyre pressure light has remained off ever since.

12/02/21 – The car went in to the garage that the company usually use for all their servicing and repairs for them to try and diagnose the steering issue. They checked the tracking, checked for if the car would pass an MOT and visually inspected the steering components. They could find no problems but we thought it may be worth swapping the tyres around front to back and side to side just to see if there was a problem there. Nothing improved and the problem persisted.

05/03/21 – The car went in to the garage that I usually use for our own cars. They checked as much as they could similarly to the previous garage and again could find no problems but the problem persisted.

12/03/21 – The car went in to Formula One Autocentres to triple check the wheel alignment on their laser system. They also again checked it on the MOT shaker plates. Again, no problem was found.

19/03/21 – Car is booked into Kia for them to take a look. I have had 2 Cee’ds previous to this one of the same shape and 1 previous to that of the previous shape. As well as numerous other vehicles that I’ve driven over the last 15—20 years of various types & sizes and none of them have behaved how this one does, something is definitely not right.

I know a little about cars but am no professional so this is just educated guess work:
  • A damaged bush or bearing that when warm is ok but when cold isn’t.
  • The power steering, perhaps the fluid
  • A belt that when cold isn’t tight enough but when warm is able to generate enough friction
  • The steering rack or column
  • Something that isn’t correctly greased
  • A damaged spring or shock
I should also mention that the dynamic steering button on the wheel seems to make hardly any difference to the weight of the steering. On the previous 2 Cee’ds the button made much more of a difference. This isn’t a problem as such as I usually use it on Normal anyway but it may help you diagnose the steering issue.

I use the car mainly for work and do 30k a year mainly on motorways and dual carriageways so an issue like this is a big problem for me.
 

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Wow, what post! Quite the mystery. We can't complain you haven't given enough information! 😀

You have it booked into KIA so hopefully if there is something wrong with the steering they will be able to diagnose it. The steering is electronic so there is no fluid as such, but they do generate heat (the unit can turn itself off if overworked) which implies any fault may present differently in different ambient temperatures. There could well be fault if you feel it doesn't change weight on pressing the dynamic steering button. I have read of sensor failures around the dead-ahead position on some electronic power steering modules, not on KIAs to be fair, but if on other cars, why not KIAs?

So, you've likely eliminated tracking which would have been my first thought. After that, like you say, broken road spring (I have had two in my driving history) or failing shock. That said, none of these you'd really expect to be temperature sensitive, save the shock may be. Has a check been carried out of wheel camber?

Tyres would be next, definitively being sensitive to ambient temperature. I know you've swapped tyres round, but can I ask if they are all the same manufacturer and tread pattern? Are they directional, and if so are they fitted correctly?

My final thought, is a grim one, is there any chance the car was in shunt in its first 34k?

Hopefully some of the forum gurus will be able to comment further. But do let us know how you get on with KIA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply!

As far as I know, F1 Autocentre checked the camber and tyre wear is all even in the 6k I’ve done with it.

Tyres are high on my list of suspicions actually. I mentioned one wheel was buckled so that tells me that at least the tyre on that wheel will have been severely flattened in order for the wheel to have been bent. This is why I swapped this wheel and tyre on to the back of the car. I moved the other front one at the same time to keep the same make tyres on the same axles. Currently there are Hankooks on the front and Nexens on the back and none are directional as far as I know. All with good tread so I don’t really want to change them unless I need to. Would a pothole damage a tyre and cause the issue I’ve got?

I’d also thought about it having been in an accident however the car came from a KIA dealership and the paintwork all matches and is in appropriate condition for its age etc so I’d be surprised. I’ll try to get this checked anyway though.
 

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I would check any print-outs you got from F1 Autocentres; some places will sell you "full laser alignment" and to be fair they will check toe-in and toe-out so that all the wheels are pointing the way they should. But few will check camber or caster unless you ask (and they might not be adjustable on the Ceed, of course). TBH, I'm not sure how much a duff camber would manifest itself as wandering or floating, except perhaps when cornering or on roads with a notable, er, camber...

The last pothole damage I had split the side wall of the front tyre and squashed the rear one sufficient enough to put a rub mark on the rim of the alloy. Fortunately the wheels survived, but the alignment of both wheels was knocked miles out, and my remaining 10 miles home was quite unnerving. So yes, it can, but you'd expect "full laser alignment" would have found that. The worry is I suppose, if the impact was severe enough, is secondary damage to the shock absorber, the road spring, drop link bushes and may be even the strut turret.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yes, I’ll give F1 a call to double check that they checked camber and caster. I didn’t get a printout but then I also didn’t have to pay. The guy who was looking at it seemed very perplexed with the issue so I hope he would’ve checked the camber and caster. If not, I’ve noticed today that it’s not far off needing a service so I can get them checked when that happens. If I’m right, caster is what helps the steering wheel to self centre so it could easily be that but as far as I know it’s not adjustable on the Cee’d.

I’d be surprised if whatever it hit has damaged the wheel and nothing else and I’m not ruling out anything on that corner including the strut tower. Can these be replaced or is it integral to the chassis?
 

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I'm wondering about tyres. I had a couple of tyres fitted years ago that never felt right from the off. I ended up swapping them to the rear. A year later the front tyres were worn so I swapped them back again. They seemed ok for a while then coming home down the motorway the steering started wobbling. It was worse the slower you went and the problem got worse and worse. Pulled into a service station and found a huge blister on the inside of the tyre.
 

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Can these be replaced or is it integral to the chassis?
Sorry matey, I have no idea. But I suspect it is so integral to the crash structure it won't be something you can just tack weld in. Tower is damage is probably some way down the list behind some softer bit being damaged first. The first car I had break a road spring developed a weird almost corkscrewing motion going round curves on the motorway. The second one, I had no idea about until MoT time. So different cars, different very reactions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again guys. I feel better just having people acknowledge the issue.
I’m very interested to see what Kia say tomorrow. Hopefully they can find whatever it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some potentially good news :D

Kia rang me to say that they'd driven and visually inspected the car to ascertain the fault but as the other garages, couldn't find any issues. They also said they'd plugged it in for a diagnostic, and I was thinking, well that won't show anything as it's a mechanical issue, however the chappy then went on to say, and we reset the steering torque sensor.

Well, I didn't even know such a thing existed but immediately as he said it, it made sense.

I don't know yet if that's completely solved the problem as it will be Monday now before I'm doing motorway speeds but on the brief drive back from the garage the steering seemed very much more precise and responsive.

It makes a couple of other extremely minor minor symptoms I've picked up on; the steering in this Cee'd has until now been notably heavier than the previous 2. I put this down to this one being a GT Line, and the others being just "2" spec. But with this sensor reset, the steering weight now seems to be much more the same as the previous Cee'ds. Also, again until now, when the steering has felt loose, if I made an adjustment to the position of the wheel (up or down, or in or out) this has seemed to relieve the looseness somewhat. Finally, when manoeuvring the car for parking and going lock to lock this has seemed to exercise the looseness and temporarily tighten the steering, I kid you not. Now until today, these things seemed so so minor that I haven't said them to any of the garages I've been to as I thought it was just me wanting to feel a difference but if that sensor hasn't been working properly, it would explain all these things. Would also explain the dynamic steering not responding to different modes.
 

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Well that sounds like good news Alex. Hopefully your first trip on the motorway will be all you hope for. And thanks for writing-up your findings; it all adds to the collective knowledge!

It's perhaps worth considering that your GT-Line will have wider, lower tyres than the 2 spec cars, so even if everything is fully fettled, it might display a tendency to follow cambers a bit more than you expect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I’m keeping everything crossed!

Yes I fully appreciate that and have considered it throughout. I’ve had a few other sporty cars over the years with low profile tyres and firm suspension so know what it can feel like behind the wheel, but the way the current Cee’d was, was definitely not right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Definitely positive results from Kia’s work on Friday. Car seems to behave itself much more now. Am not sure if it’s 100% there but at the moment it’s near enough. Will see how it gets on when we have some adverse weather. I have been getting a few very infrequent random noises from the corner where the wheel got buckled but I think these may go away and if they get worse they should be much easier to diagnose.
 

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At least you look have eliminated one potential problem, so one isn't compounding another!

What are the random noises? A broken road spring could clunk as the wheel turns or is subject to big rise or droop. Then again, I had a broken shock that made a horrible squeak with any vertical movement.
 

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I have been getting a few very infrequent random noises from the corner where the wheel got buckled but I think these may go away and if they get worse they should be much easier to diagnose.
Random noises rarely go away, the only one I can think of was when a stone became trapped between the caliper and the disc, sounded horrendous and as if by magic stopped when I was out with the mechanic demonstrating it. On the ramp we could see where it had left a mark on the disc, he had seen the issue before especially mid summer when the tar and grit season is upon us.

Get it checked out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So random noise 1 was like a wump sound and it was doing it once per rotation of the wheel when turning to the right on a roundabout.

Also turning right on a roundabout, it felt like the car was bouncing as if the road was rippled, pretty sure it wasn’t.

These things have happened only once and twice respectively in 6k miles and only when driving particularly vigorously when attempting to diagnose the now probably solved loose steering.

With the mechanics having looked at the suspension etc in it’s recent garage visits I would’ve thought they would’ve found anything seriously or obviously wrong already however the car is coming up for a service soon so if it’s still showing signs of something not being right, I’ll point it out to them then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry to report that with the cold snap this week, the looseness in the steering has returned.

I can now 100% confirm that the climatic conditions are affecting whatever the problem is, as last week when it was 20 degrees plus, the car has never driven better.

Further to this, during the spell of warmer weather w.c. 29th March when the steering was working well, the car also seemed to accelerate much more easily. Co-incidentally, when on an incline with the cruise control on, the throttle would seem to surge rather than hold steady which would create a forward and back type swaying motion. This wasn’t / isn’t an issue but could it be linked to a looseness in the steering?

I've also been able to verify that doing any one of the following will seem to exercise the looseness in the steering and temporarily (15 mins) tighten it up:
  • Turning the steering wheel from full lock one way to full lock the other
  • Adjusting the steering wheel either up or down or in or out
  • Taking a corner faster than you need to in order to put more forces through the car
These traits I think have been present throughout my time with the car but I have been able to verify them in the last few weeks.

Any further ideas guys? At the moment, I'm going to have to book it back in.
 

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Oh, Alex...

I can't really comment on the engine behaviour (I've never driven let alone owned a KIA diesel) but I think this is likely to be unrelated to your steering woes.

Regards the steering, if you can exorcise the problem as you describe, you have to think you can probably eliminate tyres, shocks, springs etc. and look for a problem with the steering column, the power steering module or may be the torque sensor itself.

It feels to me like you might be about to enter an endless cycle of dealer visits if KIA can't find it on your next visit. The inconvenience of that would drive me mad and undermine any enjoyment in the car.
 

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... any of the following will temporarily (15 mins) tighten it up:
  • Turning the steering wheel from full lock one way to full lock the other
  • Adjusting the steering wheel either up or down or in or out

  • Sounds like the issue is in the steering colum or rack. Something may have given when the wheel was damaged.

    Try the following:
    1. When the steering feels ok
    2. Park the car with steering on full lock
    3. Force the wheel even futher, to see if something gives/loosens again.
    4. Repeat on opposite lock
    5. Repeat with steering wheel both hi and lo.
    6. Repeat with steering wheel both in and out.

    If it does "loosen" again it would seem that something in the colum is giving.
    There may be a shear pin or similar for a collapsible steering colum
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh, Alex...

I can't really comment on the engine behaviour (I've never driven let alone owned a KIA diesel) but I think this is likely to be unrelated to your steering woes.

Regards the steering, if you can exorcise the problem as you describe, you have to think you can probably eliminate tyres, shocks, springs etc. and look for a problem with the steering column, the power steering module or may be the torque sensor itself.

It feels to me like you might be about to enter an endless cycle of dealer visits if KIA can't find it on your next visit. The inconvenience of that would drive me mad and undermine any enjoyment in the car.
I agree, would seem to fit more with an issue within the column area.

I hope they can identify something next time it's there. To be fair they seemed eager to help when it was in last time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

  • Sounds like the issue is in the steering colum or rack. Something may have given when the wheel was damaged.

    Try the following:
    1. When the steering feels ok
    2. Park the car with steering on full lock
    3. Force the wheel even futher, to see if something gives/loosens again.
    4. Repeat on opposite lock
    5. Repeat with steering wheel both hi and lo.
    6. Repeat with steering wheel both in and out.

    If it does "loosen" again it would seem that something in the colum is giving.
    There may be a shear pin or similar for a collapsible steering colum
I agree it's likely have been caused at the same time as the wheel was damaged. When you say force it past full lock? Is this with the ignition on or off? Most steering wheels will move about a bit when the engine is off, just that they go very heavy.
 
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