Are you fighting your car to keep between the lines? Does it feel like the car is pulling to one side? If so, you’d be correct to assume something is amiss. Not only is car pull inconvenient, but it can also be dangerous. The culprit could be uneven air pressure in your tires, improper wheel alignment, or a worn suspension, just to name a few. We’ll explain what can cause a car to pull to one side and provide a few quick troubleshooting tips in this guide!
Step One: Get to Know the Issue
If you find your car pulling to one side, your first step should be to clarify the nature of the pull. Does your car consistently pull to the right? Or does your car always pull to the left? Does it pull when you accelerate, or only when you apply the brakes? Pinpointing the details and relaying this information to your technician can help them narrow down the possible cause and diagnose the issue quicker.
Step Two: Check Tire Pressure
Improper tire pressure is one of the top reasons a car might feel like it's pulling to one side. With over or under-inflated tires, your car may feel like it's leaning. This pull can occur from the right to left — almost like a heaving motion.
Over or under-inflated tires can lead to tire wear issues down the road, so it's best not to let this one linger. Find your recommended tire pressure and head to the nearest air fill station to check and/or refill your tires. Short on time? Visit your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free tire pressure check.
Step Three: Ask Yourself About Alignment
If you're sure your tires measure in at the recommended tire pressure, ask yourself, "When's the last time I had my wheels aligned?" If the answer is, "I can't remember," then wheel misalignment could be the culprit behind your car pull.
If this is the case, you may also notice uneven tread wear, a crooked steering wheel, or tires that look like they're leaning inward. Our technicians will adjust steering and suspension components during a wheel alignment so that all adjustable angles are optimized to the manufacturer's specifications. The result? A smooth, steady ride that stays pointed in the right direction!
Step Four: Get A Complete Vehicle Inspection Performed
If you find your car pulling to one side while braking and you know your tires are at their recommended pressure levels after an alignment, you may be dealing with a sticking brake caliper or restricted brake line. Your calipers apply pressure to your brake pads, which pushes them against the rotor. If one of your calipers doesn't apply the proper pressure due to being stuck, your vehicle may start to pull towards the opposite direction.
Big or small, brake problems are a serious safety hazard. If you suspect your car has a brake issue, visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care as soon as possible.
Firestone Complete Auto Care Can Help Keep Your Car Steady
There are several other possible causes of a vehicle pulling to the side, including a bad wheel bearing, worn steering linkage, an uncalibrated steering angle sensor, or a worn tie rod — all of which are difficult to diagnose on your own and could be dangerous if left unattended.
If you're experiencing car pull, put your safety first and have things checked out by a professional. Take note of the conditions in which the car starts pulling and whether the pull is constant. Then, bring your vehicle to your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for an inspection, and we'll help keep you headed in the right direction!