Why is my vehicle pulling to one side?
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
If you’ve noticed that your car is constantly pulling to one side, then you’ll know just how annoying it can be.
Aside from repeatedly repositioning your steering wheel to ensure you’re driving straight, veering off in one direction or another requires a lot more attention, making it hard to drive safely.
It’s also a great way to reduce your fuel efficiency, meaning you’ll end up paying more in petrol expenses.
All vehicles should have a regular service, alignment and safety inspections. There can be many causes for unusual or abnormal vehicle behaviour. Only use a fully trained, certified professional to inspect and advise you on your vehicle condition.
This way, safety and reliability will always be front of mind in respect to any vehicle you have or maintain giving you confidence, reliability and trust in the vehicle operation.
So, what causes a vehicle to pull off to one side? And more importantly, how can you fix it?
Improper wheel alignment
The most common and probably the most obvious cause of your vehicle pulling to one side is improper wheel alignment. This can deteriorate over time or be the result of hitting things like deep potholes.
Particularly inconsistent driving conditions can cause wheels to become misaligned faster than smooth ones, so if you’re regularly driving bumpy roads, it’s quite likely that wheel misalignment is the culprit.
Regardless of your vehicle use, it’s commonly recommended that you get a wheel alignment at least every time you change your tyres. Aside from pulling to one side, improperly aligned wheels may also cause:
· Uneven or excessive wear to your tyres
· Vibrating or shaking steering wheel
· Squealing sounds either when driving or braking
· Instability when turning corners
If your vehicle is veering to one side and you’re thinking that wheel balancing may be behind it, bring it into Big Wheels for a comprehensive, state-of-the-art truck wheel alignment from the professionals.
Inconsistent tyre pressure
If you’re satisfied that your wheels are correctly aligned, then perhaps uneven air pressure in your tyres is causing your car to pull. As you drive, tyre pressure naturally fluctuates, and this is generally at an uneven rate between tyres.
If you’ve noticed that your vehicle is consistently pulling to one side, stop off at the next servo or mechanic and check your tyre pressure in all four tyres, topping up each one as necessary.
It’s also possible that your tyres are different heights. If this is the case, your vehicle will have an uneven ride height, which could also impact the way it steers.
If uneven or improperly inflated tyres isn’t the issue, then it’s possible that your veering concern may be more serious.
Your steering or suspension is worn
When you’ve ruled out wheel alignment and tyre pressure, it’s possible that your steering or suspension system is the reason you’re pulling to the left or right.
Known as memory steer, worn components of your steering or suspension can cause your vehicle to veer in the direction that you’ve recently turned. Memory Steer may be a result of things like worn tie rods, ball joints and many other parts encompassing your steering and suspension.
In instances where steering or suspension is behind your vehicle veering, make sure to visit your mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Your brakes are unevenly worn
Vehicle pulling may also be the result of unevenly worn brakes. If you notice that your car or truck only pulls to one side when you’re applying pressure to your brakes, then it’s likely that the issue lies within your braking system.
This could be due to stuck or frozen calipers, a leaking wheel cylinder, a constrained brake line or several other braking components that may require attention. Calipers in particular are a common cause for this.
As such an important safety and functional feature of your vehicle, any potential issues with your brakes should be diagnosed and rectified as soon as possible – particularly in winter when conditions are less than favourable.
If you believe unevenly worn brakes could be the culprit for your steering pull, make sure to get them looked at right away.
Torque steer isn’t something that impacts all vehicles, although it’s good to be aware of it nevertheless.
Essentially, torque steer is when the car pulls to one side during acceleration. This type of veering impacts high-performance cars with front-wheel drive where engine power is distributed to one tyre more so than the other.
If you own a high-powered car that has front-wheel drive, then it is possible that torque steer is to blame for your steering wheel pulling to one side.
Regardless of the cause, always make sure to get a pulling vehicle checked and fixed as soon as possible. For more info on what to do with your veering car or truck, get in touch with Big Wheels Truck Alignment on 1300 655 050.