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Discussion Starter #1
Like the topic says, I have a 2009 with the 4 cyl and electric power steering. So folks with the hydraulic power steering might not have this issue.

The handling on the 'bu is good. It is composed in the corners and confidence inspiring. Very easy to control, and that's a good thing! The feel of the steering, though, isn't real tight. It feels like the steering wheel is kinda loose and/or the power assist is boosted pretty high. Does anyone agree with this? Maybe it's just me. (My other car is a Miata with super tight steering, so it could be just me:)

Also, in my car, the steering wheel has to be very slightly turned to the left in order to keep the car going straight. I think this is just a correction for the crown in the road, but I'd like some other feedback. I already had the dealer look at the alignment, and they said it is right on. I also made sure the tires are all inflated perfectly, so that's not the issue. Do other drivers notice that the steering wheel is very slightly off center turning toward the left on a crowned road? And when I say very slightly off, I mean the bottom of the steering wheel is mabye 1/2 inch off from the center position.

Thanks for any feedback or ideas!
 

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I believe we have discussed the feel of the steering and most thought the same as you do. If you search you might be able to find the thread. I thought the same thing of mine but I guess you just get used to it because I don't really notice it now. I'm still on the stock Hankook tires that came with mine and I am beginning to think they have a lot to do with how it feels more than the electric steering. When I need to get some tires next time I will definitely get something better.

I never noticed any alignment problems with my steering.
 

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My feelings on the steering is that it is the nature of the beast and you do get used to it, but unlike my 2001 Saturn, you don't dare point it and forget about it, you need to constantly pay attention, and the alignemtn was also verified. My 15 1/2 yr daughter drove it for the first time today after driving the Saturn for aawhile and said "what is up with your steering". So it is noticably different! But you do get used to it!
 

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Also, in my car, the steering wheel has to be very slightly turned to the left in order to keep the car going straight. I think this is just a correction for the crown in the road, but I'd like some other feedback. I already had the dealer look at the alignment, and they said it is right on. I also made sure the tires are all inflated perfectly, so that's not the issue. Do other drivers notice that the steering wheel is very slightly off center turning toward the left on a crowned road? And when I say very slightly off, I mean the bottom of the steering wheel is mabye 1/2 inch off from the center position.

Thanks for any feedback or ideas!
The steering wheel can be off as you describe and the alignment right on. This can happen with any car. It is a matter of how the tie rods are adjusted to set the front toe. If the steering wheel wasn't centered when the toe was set the toe isn't centered and the steering wheel will turn slightly to center the front toe.

If the rear tie rods are misadjusted so the toe isn't centered the car will dog walk since the whole car twists to correct the situation.

Bill
 

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I can tell a difference in ours.. When I drive the 4 cyl the steering wheel feels very loose compared to my daily driver with the v6
 

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Having had the electric steering in my 05 (V6), and now having the hydraulic on the 09 there is a noticable diference.

Interesting is that I now feel the torque steer much more than with the electric steering and the first time I floored the car it was a bit disconcerting.
 

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The electric wouldn't have the direct feedback like the hyrdraulic, so torque steer isn't as big of an issue. The electric steering also may feel looser, though it's not, because it doesn't have any direct pressure feedback coming from the hydraulic system. The benefit to the electric is that, once you are used to it, it can be quick to respond, it is easy to steer, causes less problems in some people with over/under correction in sloppy weather, etc. I prefer the feel of the hydraulic, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The steering wheel can be off as you describe and the alignment right on. This can happen with any car. It is a matter of how the tie rods are adjusted to set the front toe. If the steering wheel wasn't centered when the toe was set the toe isn't centered and the steering wheel will turn slightly to center the front toe.

If the rear tie rods are misadjusted so the toe isn't centered the car will dog walk since the whole car twists to correct the situation.

Bill
Thanks for the info, Bill. So -- do you think my car is ok as-is? Like I say, the steering wheel is only very slightly off-center. Perhaps 1/2 inch at the bottom of the steering wheel, if that makes sense.

THanks.
 

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Have 13,000 mi on my 2009. At 1st I was concerned. Steering felt loose. Though it wandered alot. 1st electric steering system. After a few weeks I got used to it. No longer an issue.
 

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The steering is horrible on snow-covered streets. There is absolutely no feel to it and makes it difficult to determine if the road is actually slippery or not.

Any depth of snow gives the feeling of being on ice. Ive been on highways where people are driving 10-15mph faster than me but I always felt the road was more slippery than it actually is due to the steering. Very insecure feel.
 

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The steering is horrible on snow-covered streets. There is absolutely no feel to it and makes it difficult to determine if the road is actually slippery or not.

Any depth of snow gives the feeling of being on ice. Ive been on highways where people are driving 10-15mph faster than me but I always felt the road was more slippery than it actually is due to the steering. Very insecure feel.
Are you sure it was the steering or the wonderfully awesome goodyears that come on the car?

I do agree that it can feel loose and disconnected but overall feel isnt that much different than most other cars Ive driven.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Original poster here.

I took the car to another dealer, and they re-centered the steering wheel so that it is perfect now.

The steering feel is pretty lousy on this car. It's probably my biggest complaint about the 'Bu. Otherwise a great ride, though!
 

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The steering is horrible on snow-covered streets. There is absolutely no feel to it and makes it difficult to determine if the road is actually slippery or not.

Any depth of snow gives the feeling of being on ice. Ive been on highways where people are driving 10-15mph faster than me but I always felt the road was more slippery than it actually is due to the steering. Very insecure feel.
Bought mine Dec 08,
so I spent the 1st few weeks driving in deep snow,
the car handled great.
It has Hanook tires.
I was blasting past most people and felt the road confidently.
4 Cyl 4 speed 2LT
 

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Same here. It just feels new. Bugs guys more than anything, since we seem to be born drivers. My wife doesn't notice it, but women don't know how to drive anyways. She also has had a minor hit and run since we bought it, and has gotten several door dings that I had to have taken out!

But yah it just feels different that the hydraulic, I actually find it stays straight as an arrow, especially on the highway.
 

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09 Malibu LT2 I4 AT6
I think it is time to figure this steering issue out.
Frankly, I hate it. The looseness reminds me of vehicles with 100K or more and needing new steering or suspension components.
If you can find a straight piece of road that is smooth enough that the vehicle does not try to dart to side, you can noticeably turn the wheel a few degrees without changing the direction of travel. This looseness has allowed mine to dart when contacting areas of difference in the surface. This is very alarming and could be very dangerous, especially if slippery hazards exist.
Addressing torque steer, it is likely you have a bad alignment because one of the major reasons for it seems to have been addressed in the build. That is unequal length drive shafts. If someone finds out they are not equal, please respond. So, it seems the contact patch of left and right front tires is different. (more revealed in alignment spec)

I will try to address three connected areas for control of vehicle, tires, alignment, & steering components w/suspension.
TIRES: Mine came with Firestone FR710 which has been around for a long time. Why they would put an old tire on a new high tech design bewilders me. I live where hydroplaning is a major concern, so I would never buy these tires. Side wall sipes are extremely important here for that reason, but they made the sipes only half the tread depth. Assume 12/32 tread, worn out at 2/32, if that sipe is at 6/32, plus wear out allowance, then for areas where you can encounter water on the road the tire is worn out with 8/32 of rubber left. Some manufacturers use this design to get more mileage out of the tire, but for you it means more accidents. Also the traction does not seem to be great. With this little 4 cylinder I have broke loose and squawked the tires on dry asphalt and concrete with less than 3/4 throttle. We did have a rainy day last week and as I left the dealer, I needed to get to inside lane, the third lane. Driving a sweeping arch with maybe a little more than half throttle, I felt the rear break loose on the wet asphalt. Any residue should have been washed off with rain and traffic. Definitely alarming. So I decided to try braking when I had little traffic. The anti-lock actuated and the front tires seemed to be biting fairly well, but it seemed that the rear did not brake sufficiently or even actuate anti-lock. So, at least I have these concerns over tires and must wonder about their handling and responsiveness and ability to track straight on varying road surface. My thoughts on tires are that if they don't do the job, best brakes in world are worthless. And these tires are not high quality in my mind.

ALIGNMENT: They ran mine across the rack and bumped the numbers closer to center spec. The left rear toe was out. But I now wonder if the rack was properly calibrated. I can not say about before, but I now suspect a slight dog track to left and the change would agree with that happening (toe and thrust angle). BTW, an off center wheel is often because of not getting the rear set correctly (thrust angle). Also I'm used to a vehicle that maintained straight line travel no matter how the road surface changed.
Having the alignment spec from dealer raises some questions. Although I'm told that a different camber from left to right is common among some newer vehicles, it is not inspiring. Normally that would be done if you plan on driving in circles. Also this would change the contact area with relation to normal stance of properly inflated tire. Maybe even cause the car to try to walk sideways when going over bumps.
Caster is generally thought to be best side slightly higher on left side since you will encounter more road defects on right side of some roads. Even though the spec is same, side to side, mine is set with right side higher. (It might be better to change that.)
Not inspiring is that there is no spec for SAI, Included Angle, or Cross Camber on the rear, even though the print out shows it was read. SAI, angle formed by a line that runs through the upper and lower steering pivots with respect to vertical. The included angle (Like caster, it provides directional stability. But it also reduces steering effort by reducing the scrub radius. SAI is a built-in nonadjustable angle and is used with camber and the included angle to diagnose bent spindles, struts and mislocated crossmembers) is the sum of SAI and Camber and according to most alignment sites, there should be no difference between left and right! Mine is off by half degree.
I can not rule out alignment affecting the issue. As cars have become lighter it seems slight changes can be noticeable. Even a tire a couple of pounds low can be detected by the handling change.
ELECTRIC POWER STEERING: This is a totally new animal to me. It might be helpful if I could find design info on the GM system.
Moving the wheel parked, there is a slight amount of movement before response at the tire. But moving down the road on a straight stretch, rocking the wheel back and forth until you feel response seems to be a larger angle. Whether this is part of the power steering or if the alignment and tires is a big question in my mind. I have not had the opportunity to drive this vehicle with hydraulic power steering, which I think is only available on V6. Even though the alignment might be the same, handling would have to be different because of the added weight and other different suspension parts.

Looking for a solution. To be satisfied with what acts like a worn out system on a new vehicle is not satisfactory, and certainly dangerous.
 

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The steering is horrible on snow-covered streets. There is absolutely no feel to it and makes it difficult to determine if the road is actually slippery or not.

Any depth of snow gives the feeling of being on ice. Ive been on highways where people are driving 10-15mph faster than me but I always felt the road was more slippery than it actually is due to the steering. Very insecure feel.
Thanks for the info. It is as I suspected under any slippery conditions then.

Talked to my Dad last night. I had been planning on making the 1200 mile trek to WI to visit him. I mentioned there may be a delay because of car issues. I told him it was the electric power steering making it feel loose. He then told me that a distant relative had bought a vehicle with it and ended up in the ditch last winter. He blamed it on electric power steering and got rid of the vehicle shortly after that. They did not fix the problem to his satisfaction either.

I'm currently working with GM customer support and trying to work my way out of it as well. If they don't do me right, I will use the Lemon law with these numerous posts as proof.
At this point I have no idea what they might do to try and fix this issue. My experience with their fix for the fuel rail issue is not inspiring. The steel replacement ends up in the way of stuff and creates a hassle, extra work, if you have to remove the plastic tuned intake. Also, because of the way it bolted down and not clipped to intake, it could be the culprit for cracking those tuned intakes, sometimes internally. $800 for plastic intake.
 

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Same here. It just feels new. Bugs guys more than anything, since we seem to be born drivers. My wife doesn't notice it, but women don't know how to drive anyways. She also has had a minor hit and run since we bought it, and has gotten several door dings that I had to have taken out!

But yah it just feels different that the hydraulic, I actually find it stays straight as an arrow, especially on the highway.
Mine definitely feels more than different, like worn out parts. I have to wonder what you have for tires and if you had an alignment and can tell us what it was set to?
I'm suspicious that the rack may have been out of calibration when the dealer did mine. Not that I made a mental observation of that prior, but now suspect it is dog tracking slightly or maybe it is the strange cross-camber settings. Unlike the Aurora I had, this one won't stay straight on the road when driving across surface changes.

And mentioning the Aurora made me think of another thing I think needs checking. Because the rear broke loose cornering on wet road, I tried the brakes at another location to not check the brakes but the tires ability to stop straight line wet. I'm going to have to repeat that because of the difference between the Aurora and this one. It stopped fairly quickly with the anti-lock actuating, but it gave me the feel that it was only working on the front. Having tested the Aurora on dry road, it would leave four tracks on the road with anti-lock actuating.
 

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E net, it seems you are comparing the Malibu to a much older, much different design.

The electric steering is VERY common these days and with it you get variable steering effort. Basically the faster you go the more the wheel moves because its using less power to turn. The slower you go the more tires will turn more with less effort at the steering wheel. That is completely normal for an electric variable steering vehicle.

If you dont like the tires, then change them. Its expensive but thats all you got. You knew they came on the car when you bought it and its up to you to change them now. I dont have the Firestone's on my car so I dont know how they really are.

Now for the main part of your complaint, the moving on surface changes. Its the way the car was designed. It has a completely different suspension than your old Aurora and it will "hug" the road far better. A lot of upper end cars that have this type of suspension do the exact same thing. You have to be more aware of the road and what happens to the car when it reacts to it. I have one section of road where I live where I have to be on top of the wheel because the road is just that bad. It does it in the Malibu and in my 00 Formula. Its just natural for a car to follow the curve or grade of the road.

Also, the car has pretty good brakes for being what it is, a family sedan. You wont see tire marks on the road because the ABS is that good. Ive got it to go on one time and to tell the truth you can barely feel it. The TCS also does a huge job in helping the car before ABS locks in as well. Learn to drive the car before you complain about how it drives.

Now for the lemon law. With something that is subjective like this, I wish you good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
E Net, I'm not sure I agree with your assessment that the electic power steering is "certainly dangerous." Sounds like you don't like the steering feel, but I can't imagine that an ordinary driver would conclude there are safety issues just because the car doesn't feel like you think it should. Did these issues come up on your test drive?
 
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