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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Read below for update (or read through 13 pages)

I just picked up a '12 Optima SX last night. I've test driven a couple of times, but obviously when the car is yours, you drive it a little different then on a test drive.

Anyway, I was driving on the highway home yesterday, and realized that it seems there's no "straight" wheel position so to speak. On a straight road at 70-80mph the car may go a little to the left, or to the right and the SLIGHTEST steering wheel adjustment in the other direction over-compensates and the vehicle goes a bit the other way. You end up having to constantly shift the wheel back and forth a bit to maintain a semblance of going straight.

Has anyone experienced this? Is there a fix, or is it something I should go talk to the dealer service manager about? Sadly, I don't expect particularly great service customer care from a KIA dealership at this point.

On a better note, like the car otherwise, and it's time to get some less ugly badges, springs, maybe rims and tint ;)

Update [for first time readers in particular]

1) Check Tire Pressure, make sure it's even (~35psi). I don't think that does anything (one of my tires was 40psi, lowering didn't fix)
2) Both Hankook and Nexen tires exibit this problem. Some report that different tires fix this issue.
3) You could take the car to the dealer for an alignment, but that will most likely prove useless as they don't compare to actual KIA specs and don't do much (personal experience). Alternatively, find a better dealer.
4) The car will feel better after some miles, 1k, 3k, 5k whatever. The tires wear in, you get used to it, etc.
5) The steering has different power assist settings, that can be electronically controlled by the mechanic. Something to the extent of LX, EX Light, EX, SX Light, SX. You can request to change to a "ligher" (more assisted) setting, or have yours checked to make sure that it's set correctly. 1 Reported that theirs was set to EX on an SX Optima.
6) Not everyone has, or feels like they have this issue.

Update on my particular car
1) I have Hankoon tires.
2) Going to the dealer was a waste:
The "Alignment" check showed green, so they said it was good (even thought it wasn't to spec)
Asking to "Reset" steering alignement wasn't done. They checked for steering errors and there were none (duh, no check engine light)
They didn't check for the Assist setting
3) I submitted an inquiry to KIA to provide more info and suggest a course of action, and submitted the dealer paperwork. That inquiry was ignored, and no longer listed on the website (Customer Affairs)
4) After 1k, I'm more used to it. Also, I can finagle the car into going straight by adjusting back and forth for a while. Generally, I think my car kind of goes to the right. I don't think the steering wheel is particularly center either.
 

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That's normal. I've noticed it too. You'll get used to it. It can be a little tiring on a long drive -- I wish the car didn't do it. But once you get used to driving it, it will get to the point where it's hardly noticeable.
 

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I had the exact same issue so I took it to the dealer and they set the steering to a less sensitive setting. It is not perfect but is a lot better. The first long trip I took in mine drove me crazy constantly adjusting the wheel ever so slightly left and right.
 

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I'm willing to bet it is more of an issue of the crap rubber that comes standard on the car. I don't have my SX yet to know for sure, but the more I read, the more I am starting to believe a tire swap may be one of the the first "mods" I make (after the clear front end bra, and applying the 3.0 badges I got in the group buy).
 

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I just picked up a '12 Optima SX last night. I've test driven a couple of times, but obviously when the car is yours, you drive it a little different then on a test drive.

Anyway, I was driving on the highway home yesterday, and realized that it seems there's no "straight" wheel position so to speak. On a straight road at 70-80mph the car may go a little to the left, or to the right and the SLIGHTEST steering wheel adjustment in the other direction over-compensates and the vehicle goes a bit the other way. You end up having to constantly shift the wheel back and forth a bit to maintain a semblance of going straight.

Has anyone experienced this? Is there a fix, or is it something I should go talk to the dealer service manager about? Sadly, I don't expect particularly great service customer care from a KIA dealership at this point.

On a better note, like the car otherwise, and it's time to get some less ugly badges, springs, maybe rims and tint ;)
Hey there welcome to the forums. The particular issue you are experiencing has been discussed several times on these forums. Just do a search for what your looking for.

http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/6-optima-engine-technical-discussion/2129-steering-wander.html

http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/5-optima-general-discussion/4666-how-can-i-get-left-pull.html

http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/5-optima-general-discussion/6781-my-kia-optima-can-not-drive-straight-after-5-service-visits-i-need-advice.html

http://www.optimaforums.com/forum/5-optima-general-discussion/6629-steering-problems-start.html

That's normal. I've noticed it too. You'll get used to it. It can be a little tiring on a long drive -- I wish the car didn't do it. But once you get used to driving it, it will get to the point where it's hardly noticeable.
This is not true at all. What you are experiencing is not normal as my car drives perfectly straight and does not have this issue at all!
 

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I had the exact same issue so I took it to the dealer and they set the steering to a less sensitive setting. It is not perfect but is a lot better. The first long trip I took in mine drove me crazy constantly adjusting the wheel ever so slightly left and fight.
So, the dealer can actually set the steering to a less sensitive setting? I might be interested in pursuing this, since I agree, on highway driving, I feel that I am constantly having to over correct the steering. Like it is almost too sensitive. That is one comparison to my former G8 where the G8's steering was very straight-on and easy to go fast and smooth. No over correcting was needed.
 

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Check the tire pressure, it's probably too high.
 

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Welcome to the, club so to speak. Sick gave you a bunch of useful posts, so to add I can just say that car is very difficult to find the right spot to go straight. Even after I had my car fixed for the left pull, it still won't go straight on it's own.
 

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When I got my car, it drove the same way. I found out that the dealer inflates the tires to 40psi. Get a gauge and dial it down to factory 35psi and that should do it. They do this also every service so have a tire gauge in your glove compartment handy.


Sent from my Autoguide iPhone app
 

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There seems to be an extra power assisted assistance when you first touch the steering. A little bit'a power just before the resistance (hey, that kinda' rhymes), I think this must be what you are experiencing. I've noticed it too but you do get used to it quickly.

Maybe it helps keep you awake and aware? not dangerous but different.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Checked the tires. I have Hankook Optimo H431, inflated to 35.5/35.5 in the rear and 35/37 in the front. I adjusted to 35. There's definitely some of the "play" at speed before the wheel gets hard and that may be compounding the problem, but i can't get the car to go/stay straight. I made an appointment at the dealer on Monday, but it it is extremely annoying to have to do this with a new car.
 

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This OP issue is definitely not normal. My SX does not do that at all. In fact, I can be going down a straight highway and not touch the steering wheel and the car will stay in the lane.
 

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This OP issue is definitely not normal. My SX does not do that at all. In fact, I can be going down a straight highway and not touch the steering wheel and the car will stay in the lane.
I disagree. Unfortunately this is normal to SX owners. Happens to me too. Happens to tons of people on this forum. Doesn't happen to all- you are a lucky one. But this is definitely an issue that is not an isolated event.
 

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I disagree. Unfortunately this is normal to SX owners. Happens to me too. Happens to tons of people on this forum. Doesn't happen to all- you are a lucky one. But this is definitely an issue that is not an isolated event.

This forum like any other car forum is a place where people can come to if they have problems and get answers among other things. Many members create an account just to post about the issue with the left or right pull on their car. However in the bigger picture of things there is a very small percentage of Optima owners that actually have a pull issue at all. So this issue is not "NORMAL" with SX owners. This issue is not "NORMAL" with any model of Optima even though it happens to several different models and not just the SX.
 

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This forum like any other car forum is a place where people can come to if they have problems and get answers among other things. Many members create an account just to post about the issue with the left or right pull on their car. However in the bigger picture of things there is a very small percentage of Optima owners that actually have a pull issue at all. So this issue is not "NORMAL" with SX owners. This issue is not "NORMAL" with any model of Optima even though it happens to several different models and not just the SX.
We shall agree to disagree. I dont not join this forum soley to complain about this. I think a big enough segment is out there to deem the chance of this happening to a new buyer pretty high. Its also a known issue with this car's brethren in the Sonata. The unfortunate thing is Kia, or at least my dealer, has no idea how to fix it and keeps telling me all is fine. I hate saying that I love the car, but I just don't love driving it. Oh well....just one of those things you learn to live with.
 

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We shall agree to disagree. I dont not join this forum soley to complain about this. I think a big enough segment is out there to deem the chance of this happening to a new buyer pretty high. Its also a known issue with this car's brethren in the Sonata. The unfortunate thing is Kia, or at least my dealer, has no idea how to fix it and keeps telling me all is fine. I hate saying that I love the car, but I just don't love driving it. Oh well....just one of those things you learn to live with.
For sure that's your opinion & I respect that. Not all people come to the forums to complain but many do. The issue can be fixed as several members have stated that they have had the issue fixed and don't have any steering issues now. It is sad as I would never learn to just accept that if my car had that problem. You give them multiple opportunities to fix it, if they can't you have the car bought back under the lemon law. Unfortunately the laws are different depending on where you live.

Except as provided in paragraph (2), if the manufacturer or its representative in this state does not service or repair the goods to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either replace the goods or reimburse the buyer in an amount equal to the purchase price paid by the buyer, less that amount directly attributable to use by the buyer prior to the discovery of the nonconformity.
(2) If the manufacturer or its representative in this state is unable to service or repair a new motor vehicle, as that term is defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 1793.22, to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either promptly replace the new motor vehicle in accordance with subparagraph (A) or promptly make restitution to the buyer in accordance with subparagraph (B). However, the buyer shall be free to elect restitution in lieu of replacement, and in no event shall the buyer be required by the manufacturer to accept a replacement vehicle.
 

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I just drove 12 hours and almost 800 miles yesterday to see my son. From Maryland to northern Michigan, ive got an EX Turbo and i never had an issue with steering or seat comfort, in fact 1 year 5500 miles now not one fricking issue. My history is all german cars with a few Nissan Zs thrown in this KIA rocks it. Pulled 33.9 miles per gallon by the computer took less than two tanks first tank hand calculated at 33.3. My daughter in law used it today to take a friend on a 3 hour round trip to the airport. She got home and wanted to trade here 2009 Audi A6 for it.
 

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For sure that's your opinion & I respect that. Not all people come to the forums to complain but many do. The issue can be fixed as several members have stated that they have had the issue fixed and don't have any steering issues now. It is sad as I would never learn to just accept that if my car had that problem. You give them multiple opportunities to fix it, if they can't you have the car bought back under the lemon law. Unfortunately the laws are different depending on where you live.

Except as provided in paragraph (2), if the manufacturer or its representative in this state does not service or repair the goods to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either replace the goods or reimburse the buyer in an amount equal to the purchase price paid by the buyer, less that amount directly attributable to use by the buyer prior to the discovery of the nonconformity.
(2) If the manufacturer or its representative in this state is unable to service or repair a new motor vehicle, as that term is defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 1793.22, to conform to the applicable express warranties after a reasonable number of attempts, the manufacturer shall either promptly replace the new motor vehicle in accordance with subparagraph (A) or promptly make restitution to the buyer in accordance with subparagraph (B). However, the buyer shall be free to elect restitution in lieu of replacement, and in no event shall the buyer be required by the manufacturer to accept a replacement vehicle.
Im in Texas, not sure of the laws here. The problem is it is soo ever slight. Maybe I will take video off it. So I guess, it isn't enough for me to be super annoyed by it. I've gotten used to it and overall I really like the car overall. I will ask about it again when I go in next.
 

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Yea I notice some weirdness in mine, but its not overly aggravating. If I recall some Sonata's had some strange issued with steering, its probably similar on our Optima's

I miss my old 2002 Silverado pickup. I could make adjustments to the steering sensitivity right on the steering gearbox with a set screw. Now everything is electronic and computerized.
 

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I just drove 12 hours and almost 800 miles yesterday to see my son. From Maryland to northern Michigan, ive got an EX Turbo and i never had an issue with steering or seat comfort, in fact 1 year 5500 miles now not one fricking issue. My history is all german cars with a few Nissan Zs thrown in this KIA rocks it. Pulled 33.9 miles per gallon by the computer took less than two tanks first tank hand calculated at 33.3. My daughter in law used it today to take a friend on a 3 hour round trip to the airport. She got home and wanted to trade here 2009 Audi A6 for it.
I will give you that- the chairs are comfy on long trips. We upgraded from a 03 Civic that after an hour it was really uncomfortable. On a trip to Houston I got 31 MPG. In combined, normal driving where my commute is 80 miles round trip and speeds between 70-85 with some stop and go traffic and then normal errand running, I am getting an average of 24.63 MPG after 7 tanks (tanking out the purely highway trips). Not bad- wish it was a little better.
 
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