If your car keeps pulling to one side, it is not only uncomfortable to drive but also very dangerous. Various reasons can be attributed to this problem, from an improperly inflated tyre to a stuck calliper.
Your car is acting just like a spoilt child! You struggle so hard, steering left and right only to keep it going straight. If you let go the driving wheel for a moment, the vehicle immediately aims for the pavement. Pulling, as this occurrence is called, is distracting to the driver and demanding on the car. Before taking your car to a professional and ask for help, you should check it out yourself and see in which conditions the car starts pulling and how the car is pulling. Figuring out some details about the pulling allows the mechanics to find the culprit and repair your car more quickly, and lets you reach the repair shop more safely as well.
1. Improper wheel alignment
One common cause of pulling is improper wheel alignment. In this case, when you drive the car, you can feel that the pull is quite consistent, and there is no chance that your steering wheel goes to the normal position unless you turn it. If you stop and check all 4 tyres in the car, you may see that there is uneven tread wear.
While many people may think that uneven road is the cause of improper wheel alignment, it is not very likely unless you drive on terrible side-sloped streets on a daily basis. This also means that hitting a few small potholes or street bumps is not likely to lead to out-of-alignment wheels. However, hitting a curb or running over a sink-sized pothole can damage or bend parts under your car.
If you suspect that improper wheel alignment is the culprit of pulling, you should bring the car to a professional as soon as possible because further driving can lead to more serious problems. A mechanic will adjust your suspension, wheels, and tyres according to the manufacturer specifications, and you will have your beloved smooth ride back.
Improper wheel alignment creates consistent pulling to one side
2. Uneven tyre pressure
In some cases, the solution to car pulling is as straightforward as adding air to some of your tyres. Under-inflated or over-inflated tyres change the height of the tyres and cause the car to pull spasmodically, either from left to right or from front to back. If you ever feel like your car is sort of bopping or shaking to a certain rhythm, there is a high chance that there is something wrong with tyre pressure, so you need to head to the nearest repair shop to fill the tyres to the recommended tyre pressure. After inflating the tyres to their recommended specifications, you can enjoy a smooth and steady ride without the annoying car pulling.
To avoid this problem, if you have a car tyre inflator at home, you would want to check the pressure gauge to see whether it gives you an accurate reading. If not, it is recommended that you change to a gauge of higher quality.
Uneven tyre pressure makes the car move from side to side or from front to back rhythmically
3. Tyre conicity
If you have just changed car tyres and your car starts to pull after the first few rotations, it is highly likely that the new tyres have tyre conicity. Tyre conicity, which is also known as ride disturbance or tyre pull, is a problem with a car tyre when it is manufactured, rather than a wear-and-tear type of issue, so it can happen to brand new tyres. It occurs when a car tyre is inflated not into an even cylinder but into a slight cone shape. If the pulling happens as soon as you start to drive and gets worse when the speed increases, you would want to stop and check the tyres on that side because defective tyre usually makes the car lean towards it. Fortunately, tyre conicity can be detected with naked eyes, so you can spot it right away without having to resort to any fancy tool. However, to prevent dealing with tyre conicity in the first place, you should bring a ruler to check for conicity problem before you purchase a new car tyre.
If you have just got new tyres and your car is pulling, the culprit is likely to be tyre conicity
4. Brake issues
Faulty braking system is one of the more serious causes of car pulling, and the most common brake issue that leads to pulling is stuck callipers. Callipers are parts of the braking system that receive hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder, then squeeze the brake pads against the surface of the brake rotor, and make the car come to a stop. In case one calliper is stuck, it wears out the brake unevenly, causes the car to pull to that side, and makes driving overall less safe. As the brake system is of pivotal importance to safe driving, if you spot a pull when braking and/or suspect that there is something wrong with the brake system, you should have professionals look into it as soon as possible.
Note: Some other symptoms that may make you feel suspicious of a stuck calliper are: brake slow to release after foot leaving the brake pedal, burnt smell when braking, overheating brake when braking, etc.
A stuck calliper causes your car to pull to one side whenever you brake
5. Memory steer
Memory steer is a term that is used to describe a car that keeps pulling to one side after completing a turn in the same direction. While the symptoms are pretty much self-explanatory in the very definition of memory steer, the reason why it happens is more complicated. Worn bearings in the strut towers, binding tie rod ends, binding idler arm, binding ball joints, and lack of lubrication are some of the more common causes of memory steer. As there is not much you could do in case of a memory steer, it is better if you take your car to a professional so he or she can pinpoint the problem and replace the defective parts.
Memory steer happens when your car continues to pull to one side after finishing a turn in that direction