TTAC Commentator AbqJay writes:
A couple of months ago I bought a slightly used 2016 Mazda 6 Grand Touring with 18,000 miles. The car is my wife’s daily driver; I drive it about once a week, and for longer trips, such as a jaunt I took from our home in Albuquerque to southern California in December. It’s hard to believe, but this is my first wrong-wheel drive car. The Mazda 6 is roomy, has decent power, gets fabulous mileage, and has an interior filled with creamy leatherette seating and trim, and soothing blue LED lighting. Since no one wants to buy this car, we got a great deal on it. So far so good.
Then I drove it to Cali.
On the drive, I noticed the steering is heavy. As in really heavy. As in my wrists hurt after driving it for about 20 minutes on the interstate. It feels like I am wrestling with it, even though the steering appears to be dead center.
It doesn’t feel like it needs an alignment, and doesn’t drift when I take my hands off the wheel. Is this torque steer? I have felt it before in other front-wheel-drive cars where the manufacturer has been unconcerned about offering a decent driving experience, like the Mitsubishi Galant I once had as a rental, but I don’t remember it feeling quite like this. And in other front-drivers, like my mother-in-law’s 15-year-old Camry or the Ford Fusion we rented a couple of years ago, the steering was reasonably light and the torque steer minimal. I don’t think there are issues with the front suspension. The tires are the original Dunlops, and they don’t show any unusual wear. There’s some curb rash on the rims, but it appears to be cosmetic.
This is bumming me out because of all the issues with this car raised in the reviews I’ve read (rough ride, loud wind noise, smallish back seat), this wasn’t one of them. I thought this car was going to be a pleasure to drive. I bought this “certified pre-owned” from the dealer, so I don’t see any point taking it to them, since they are going to tell me there’s nothing wrong with it. (If there had been anything wrong with it, they would have caught it and fixed it, right?) Should I take it to be looked at by an independent shop?
You don’t see the point in taking it to the dealer after paying for CPO warranty coverage? Son, you must be pullin’ our collective legs.
Go to the dealer, as this sounds like steering wander that’s a derivation of a known problem with a documented repair.
If that Mazda service bulletin doesn’t help, you’re up a creek without a paddle: what you describe isn’t torque steer (185 lb-ft isn’t enough to mess things up on the highway) and a matched set of tires (even bad ones) shouldn’t cause what you describe.
Any ideas, Best and Brightest?
Send your queries [email protected] Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.