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With regardless to the type of parking, how do I check my car wheels are straight and in alignment to the chassis without getting out or opening the window. Some times it is so frustrating to see the angled wheels after locking the steering wheel. I usually lower the window and check the wheels, but any other good ways?

I have been advised by few that angled wheel on longer parking may have high wear and tear and also it is not the good parking skills.

  • Related: lifehacks.stackexchange.com/q/2090/59 – Shokhet Mar 10 '15 at 15:21
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    How perfect does it need to be? Most steering wheels are aligned so that it being the right way up means the wheels are pointed forward. – Engineer Toast Mar 10 '15 at 16:56
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    There is no difference in wear made by parking with wheels turned, and there is a good reason to turn them when parked on a hill, so that the curb (or kerb, if you prefer) can help prevent the car from rolling. – DrMoishe Pippik Mar 10 '15 at 20:59
  • @DrMoishePippik +1 If the shoulder is not paved you turn the wheels in the opposite direction so the road surface will keep the car from rolling. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 11 '15 at 5:20
  • I had a car steering box get so loose so it was literally impossible for others to drive- it snuck up on me and I corrected for it without realizing. It was a really inexpensive fix- just a few seconds with a wrench. If that's why you're having troubles you might want to have it fixed. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 11 '15 at 5:22
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Simple one here as its getting to the end of the day:

Drive forward or back a little, if your car veers off in one direction or the other you'll know you need to turn the wheels and as a bonus you'll know in which direction to turn them!

As I said this is pretty simple and won't require any modifications to the car which I think is a bonus!

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Another cool way to know is adding a colored tape stripe to the top center part of the steering wheel like used in most race cars. It will give you the ability to know if your steering wheel is straight without looking down.

As for knowing if the wheels are straight outside, the rule of thumb is, a steering wheel can do two full 360-degree turns before full lock. If you lock the wheel in one direction, just count two turns back to center and the wheels outside should be straight as well.

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If your car is aligned properly, the wheels will be in line with the chassis when the steering wheel is level. But if there's a little play in the wheel (normal), then the easiest way would be to pull in as straight as possible (make a wide turn to get in), and once you're inplace, rock forward and backwards a couple feet, and that will completely straighten your wheels, if you keep your wheel level.

If you do this, park with a level wheel, but the front wheels are still not lined up, test your alignment, and possibly get it altered by a professional it it's off.

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    The steering wheel makes three turns in most cars. I assume OP's issue is more with having it in one of the other two "level" positions rather than just leaving it in an arbitrary position. – Random832 Mar 11 '15 at 17:04
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To begin with, most car wheels are centered when the steering wheel is straight. If you have a three spoke steering wheel for example, one of the three should be pointing down.

Now, as you turn your wheel, this "position" might occur again after one revolution, but steering wheels usually only turn about 1.75 times in each direction, so that "position" will only occur 3 times (try in your car to be sure...).

So if you turn your steering wheel all the way to the left, and then back until the spoke is pointing down, and then one more revolution, your wheels should be centred. Here you can see a centred steering wheel.

If for some reason your steering wheel happens to be not this way, you can also try to turn it all the way to the left, then all the way to the right, and remember how many revolutions you had, and turn half of that amount back (e.g. you turn it 3.5 times from full left to full right, and then 1.75 times back to centre the wheels).

By the way, when parking on hills you might want to turn your wheels purposely as a kind of hand brake. If you turn your wheels, so that if the car would start rolling downhill (for what ever reason), the front wheels would hit the curb, you can assure that it won't roll away, even if your handbrake fails or is not working.

  • This isn't accurate with play in the wheel, which is common. 1" of play doesn't always feel like much, but it will still look off. – J. Musser Mar 11 '15 at 20:05
  • Ohh didn't know you want it that very exact! ;) well then once your steering wheel is centered you can rock it left and right a little bit until both "ends" (as in until the wheels start to turn with the steering wheel again) are equally far from the center. This may be not a good method for none power steering cars but for the common ones it should be very exact, probably more accurate then driving back and forth... – Maverick283 Mar 12 '15 at 7:31
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Its very easy. You can turn your steering wheel completely left or right and then start moving your steering wheel towards other direction and start counting manufacturing logo. It means your car manufacturing logo should be straight three times when you turn steering wheel from left to right or right to left and when second time when it is straight, you should consider your car wheels are straight. See this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-C9CBI3rqo

Thanks

  • That assumes your car's steering is geared to three rotations of the steering wheel. On my car, three turns of the wheel would go from lock to lock. That can't be unusual. – Chenmunka Jan 7 at 10:30

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