I have a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe
that I bought new and now has 78,000 miles. I noticed the steering wheel wasn't straight when going straight down the road. It was off to the right. I brought the truck to a local shop for a wheel alignment, and it was straight for more than a month. But now it's getting off to the right again. What could cause something like that?
A: You have to thoroughly inspect the suspension and steering linkage for anything loose or worn. GM did have relevant problems with several 2007 truck models. The inner tie-rod ends, which screw on to the left and right ends of the steering rack bar, were working their way loose. This could produce a crooked steering wheel, occasional clunk noise, and abnormal tire wear. Whoever aligned the vehicle might have missed the problem. There is a technical service bulletin on the subject, but surprisingly no recall. TSB 07-02-32-008a states: "Testing has shown it to be unlikely that the joint will unscrew (separate) during normal driving maneuvers." I guess that all depends how far someone is willing to drive the vehicle while ignoring the increasing symptoms.
I'd bring it to a Chevy service department, and tell them about the symptoms and the TSB. If they determine that either or both of the inner tie-rod ends are coming loose, GM recommends replacement of the entire steering rack assembly, not just tightening or replacing the tie-rod ends.
How To Reach Alex
If you have a technical question regarding your pickup, SUV, or van, feel free to contact Alex, a master technician with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. Send a letter to him in care of Truck Trend Garage, 831 S. Douglas Street, El Segundo, CA 90245, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the VIN with your question. Due to the volume of questions received every month, we cannot guarantee that everyone's question will be personally answered or will appear in the magazine.
Can't wait for help with a problem you're having with your Truck or SUV? Ask the expert we trust here at Truck Trend Garage -- visit Alex Steele at www.RealWorldAutomotive.com.