Misaligned SAAB Steering Wheel

SAAB 900 Steering Wheel Alignment

Sometimes it’s the little things that go wrong on cars that get on your nerves the most. Take the steering wheel on my SAAB 900S for example.

As you can see in the image above, while the wheels were pointing straight ahead, the steering wheel was turned to the left and therefore was obscuring the fuel and temperature gauges. Very annoying!

This job was so easy that I did it this evening in the car park while waiting to pick Nic up from Roller Derby training. All you need is a 22mm socket, an extension and a ratchet.

Please note that my car does not have a steering wheel airbag – if your vehicle does then you might need to perform some additional steps. You’re on your own there!

Firstly, make sure the wheels are pointing straight ahead – might be worth reversing and then driving forward to make totally sure rather than doing it by eye, depending on how sloppy your steering is!

Next, remove the centre pad. This comes away quite easily if you pull at the flat edges – as you can see in the following pictures, it’s held in by the centre circular part and by small tabs next to each horn button. So long as you’re not a complete thug, you should get this off without damaging it. The centre badge can also be removed if you like, it is held in by two tabs.

Back of SAAB Steering Wheel Centre Pad
SAAB Steering Wheel Centre Pad Attachments 1
SAAB Steering Wheel Centre Pad Attachments 2
SAAB Steering Wheel Centre Pad Attachments 3

Once the pad is removed, you can see the nut through the central hole:

SAAB Steering Wheel Central Hole
SAAB Steering Wheel Mounting Nut

Loosen this nut with your socket and ratchet, you’ll need an extension as it is recessed quite far in. Be careful not to damage the wiring while you’re in there!

Note that there is a washer under the nut, and also that the nut has a flat surface on one side which needs to face downwards when you put it back on.

Don’t take the nut all the way off just yet – you need to loosen the wheel from the splines on the steering column, so slacken the nut and then give the wheel a good wiggle and pull towards you. If it’s very stiff, you might need to bang it a few times from behind – if you’d removed the nut, you’d more than likely hit yourself in the face with the wheel when it comes off. Not a smooth move.

Once the wheel is loose, you can finish removing the nut and then pull the wheel from the shaft. This allows you to see the little sticky-out nubbin thing that cancels the indicators as you turn the wheel – be careful not to damage this! It’s the grubby looking small rectangle on the left in the following picture, at the 9’oclock position on the steering shaft.

You can’t quite see them in the picture, but there are two springs above and below this tab that pull it back inwards once disengaged. If you’re having indicator cancelling problems, might be worth a blast of WD-40 to see if that sorts them out.

SAAB Indicator Self Cancelling Tab

On the back of the wheel is a protruding piece of plastic that makes contact with the tab shown above and cancels the indicators as you return the wheel to a central position:

Back of SAAB Steering Wheel

Once you have the wheel off, it’s a simple matter to put it back onto the splines in a better alignment and then replace the washer and bolt, tighten very well (hold the wheel steady as you do this to make sure it’s on tight) and then finally put the pad back into place and admire the new, clearer view!

SAAB Steering Wheel Centred

There you have it, a nice easy job but one that makes the car much more enjoyable to drive – if this has helped you then please let me know in the comments!