Why does my car pull to one side when I’m driving?
A steady steering pull or “lead” to one side may have any of a number of causes. The most likely cause is wheel misalignment. This may be due to rear wheel toe or axle misalignment, front wheel camber misalignment, too much cross camber or caster alignment (more than a degree of difference side to side), or someone having “aligned” the front wheels without the steering wheel being properly centered beforehand. In any event, it will probably be necessary to have the alignment checked to diagnose and correct the problem — unless one of the following is causing the pull:
- An underinflated front tire on one side. Check tire pressures and make sure they are the same side-to-side (no more than a couple of pounds of difference).
- Mismatched tires. Tires of different size, aspect ratio or even tread pattern on one side can create enough of a difference in rolling resistance to cause a pull.
- A weak or sagging spring. Measure and compare ride height on both sides of your vehicle (measure at the fender openings). If one side is an inch or more lower than the other side, chances are you have a spring that needs to be shimmed or replaced.
- A dragging brake. This can be caused by a frozen or sticking disc brake caliper that doesn’t allow the pads to kick back out from the rotor or weak or broken return springs in a drum brake that don’t pull the shoes back from the drum. Another possibility here might be a packing brake that isn’t fully releasing on one side.
I f you have any questions about your car pulling, your brakes, your alignment, or any other vehicle problems, we are here to help. Our expert mechanics, great customer service, and friendly atmosphere makes us a favorite auto repair shop in Huntington Beach. Come by and see for yourself!