Dear Car Talk:
I have a steering problem with my 2015 Ford Fusion. I've had the alignment checked. I got new tires. I had a Ford dealership look it over, and they said the front end is nice and tight (all they did was tell me to get the new tires). My problem: The car darts to the left or right on its own.
I continuously have to correct for these changes in direction. It happens on any kind of pavement, but more so on uneven pavement. If I start to steer into a curve, the car wants to steer tighter into the curve by itself. I ease up, re-engage the curve, and the car does it again. Very weird. Any thoughts? -- Rick
Well, there's been no shortage of steering complaints about this car. There was a problem where the steering wheel fastener would come loose and cause the steering wheel to come loose and even come off in your hands. How's that for a little wake-me-up?
So I would certainly ask your dealer to check for that specific problem. If the steering wheel in your hands is not bolted tightly to the wheels, that could produce the abrupt changes in direction you describe. Although you'd experience it continuously. All the time.
There also was a recall to fix the steering gear motor's mounting bolts, which tended to corrode, leading to a loss of power steering. If you came into our shop and complained about this problem, after I verified that your tires weren't severely overinflated, the next thing I'd suspect would be an alignment issue.
If you hit a big pothole or curbstone, and bent a tie-rod end, or a strut (or if your 16-year-old nephew did when you lent him the car), you could knock your caster off, which definitely would cause squirrely handling. But you say you've had the alignment checked. And a caster problem, if you have one, should have turned up. So the next step is to convince the dealer to take your complaint more seriously.
If you can find a road in the general vicinity of the dealership where the car will reliably misbehave, take the service manager for a ride. Have him drive and experience the problem. Once he experiences the problem himself, and sees his own life and pleasure boat flash before his eyes, I think he'll be more open to looking harder for the cause. If he's at a loss, suggest that the steering rack is the next thing to investigate. Good luck, Rick.