Nothing worse than driving your vehicle and pulling to one side. Most times customers think that they need a Wheel alignment. This could be true but there are also a few other reasons that the steering wheel could pull. A pulling steering wheel could indicate other issues that could be present in your vehicle’s steering system. Determining whether it is one of the components in your suspension system, braking system, or tires is imperative to resolving the underlying issue.
Could tires cause a pull?
We have seen time and time again tires being the culprit of vehicle pulling. Even new tires installed will sometimes cause pulling. Especially if you had no pulling before on the tires that have been replaced. Having a tire that has a shifted belt could be a major cause of tire pulling. Also if your tires have been worn out due to worn suspension components or a bad wheel alignment the tires could have worn, that even if you get an alignment the pulling could still be present. Tires have to be replaced if they are causing pulling issues.
A road force tire machine is also a good aid to detect tire pulling as it can diagnose a bad tire. Most tire manufacturers require a road force print out in order to receive a warranty for a pulling tire. A good tip to find if the car is pulling because of the tires is to swap the front two tires with each other for testing purposes. If the car pulls the other way you know the tires are the problem and should be replaced.
Suspension wear could cause a pull?
Worn parts in the suspension system can also cause a vehicle to pull. If worn parts are worn a car could be out of wheel alignment and cause the wheel to pull or off center. A complete suspension inspection should be completed in order to rule out such items as worn ball joints, bushings, bearings, steering rack and other worn components. A qualified technician can advise you on any repairs that might be needed. A worn part can not only be a safety issue but your vehicle might be indicating that there is something wrong and need immediate attention.
Brakes could be causing the pulling?
When your vehicle is pulling most people do not think the brakes could be the possible problem. When brake components seize they put a squeezing force on one of the wheels. This force can make a vehicle pull to the side that the wheel is seizing. Items such as seized slider pins, caliper, and hung up brake pads can cause the wheels to have resistance. Upon braking this might be also more extreme and the pull could get worse. A proper inspection of every wheel is important and also making sure the parking brake cables are not seized. Ruling out the brake being seized is also a proactive maintenance to eliminate future issues. Servicing your braking system can help to eliminate any drag. This drag could cause a pull and make the vehicle feel unsafe.
Is it wheel off center?
Is the vehicle pulling or is the wheel off center. There is a big difference when it comes to diagnosing a pull. If you think the wheel is pulling, let go and see if it really pulls to one side or is the steering wheel off center. This will aid in diagnosis. We often see customers tell us that their vehicle is pulling. In some cases the wheel just needs to be adjusted by conducting a routine wheel alignment. The fact that you need to hold the wheel on an angle is usually a sign that a wheel alignment is needed.
The wheel alignment of your vehicle could also be out causing the vehicle to pull to one side. If the wheels are not pointed in the right direction the steering wheel can pull. Checking the vehicle’s wheel alignment would be the first step in diagnosing a pull. It is a good idea to have the wheel alignment checked before jumping to any conclusions. Also we must remind you that pulling after installing tires could indicate a tire issue. It is a good idea to always get your wheel alignment checked every year as a maintenance service. This can help prolong tire life and improve the drivability of the vehicle. Upon receiving an alignment the technician can point out anything abnormal they noticed on the road test. They can also tell from the before and after adjustments if the vehicle was pulling because of the alignment. If not they can probably suggest what else can be done to discover the cause of the pull. A Vehicle that has a perfect front alignment and has a wheel alignment that is not in specification in the rear in some cases can cause a pull. Always eliminate the wheel alignment as being a factor before proceeding to unnecessary parts replacements.