One of the most common situations you face when driving a car is that the car pulls to the right or left, but most common on the right side.
Possible situations in which a car pulls to the right are either when you are driving, especially if the driver takes his hand off the steering wheel, and the car no longer maintains its straight trajectory, or when the driver is braking.
If the car pulls to the right or to the left during acceleration, then, most likely, it is a problem with the steering or suspension, and if this happens when beaking, then the braking system is malfunctioning. The problem can be caused by a flat tire, a bad road, or even if the car has a higher load on one side.
Causes why cars pull to the right when driving
As I have said above, this can happen when you are driving on a straight road and you let go of the steering wheel. In some situations, you will have to keep the steering wheel turned slightly to the left for the car to maintain its straight trajectory.
Most common causes why this occurs are problems with the steering and suspension. Usually, you will notice this when you hit a pothole on the road. In this case, the wheel alignment is no longer as it should be and for that, you have to restore the correct alignment angle.
You will also notice that the car pulls to one side when you have bad or worn shock absorbers, especially when you are driving on uneven roads.
Also, if you do have this issue, don’t rush in thinking that the steering needs adjustments. The causes may be simple to fix, such as an incorrect pressure on one or more tires or the tires are worn-out and you need to change them.
Sometimes the car pulls to the right because of uneven weight distribution. For example, if there is a heavy load in the trunk on the right side or in the car more passengers are on one side. In this case, to correct the problem, you just need to balance the load by moving things in the trunk or asking the passengers to change the side.
Moreover, other reasons why cars pull to the right when driving may not only be incorrect wheel alignment adjustment or wear to the suspension and steering elements but also a violation of the car body geometry as a result of an accident, damaged rims, or brake discs.
As a rule, drivers of high mileage cars will notice more often that the car pulls strongly to the right due to the normal wear of the car parts mentioned above.
A less common cause why a car can pull on one side is a bad or worn wheel bearing, which prevents the wheel from rotating freely and slows it down. Also, less often, the problem occurs because of a worn-out CV joint. Very rarely, the culprit may be the differential, which, due to a breakdown, unevenly distributes the moment between the wheels of one axle.
If tires are in good conditions and wheel alignment is ok, but the car still pulls to the right and you hear some hits in the steering wheel, then the cause is in the steering system. It may be a faulty steering rack, loose tips, or rods that will lead to more freedom of movement for the wheels relative to the steering wheel.
Why cars pull to the right when braking?
If the car pulls to the right only when braking, then you should check the condition of the braking system. The possible causes are a jammed cylinder, bad caliper guides, or a damaged hydraulic line.
Also, a worn wheel bearing can cause the car to pull on the side when braking, but a faulty CV joint also acts in the same way. You can tell the difference between the two car parts by their sound symptoms the hub bearing is buzzing or howls when worn, and the CV joint creaks when the wheels are turned.
The car’s bad suspension also will cause it to pull on one side when you press the brake pedal, mostly due to worn ball joints and worn shock absorbers. Also, uneven tire pressure also is a culprit. A flat tire has a larger contact area with the road and therefore brakes better.
On vehicles with ABS, brake problems can arise from faulty wheel sensors or control valves, you should check them using an OBD.
Why does the car pull to the right after alignment?
If this happens, most likely, the wheel alignment was done wrong. You will need to go back to the workshop and report the problem. It is better not to delay much, since the warranty for this operation is just a few days.
How to know the exact cause
Above I have presented the most common causes of a car pulling to the right, and now I will tell you how to check these causes. Some checks are simple and you can do them even if you have no knowledge, but for others, you need an elevator, preferably two jacks, or an observation pit.
- Check the wheel alignment. Here things are rather simple, if you release the steering wheel when driving and the car does not keep a straight line, then you should first check the wheel alignment. Inspect the tires for uneven tread wear, or bumps
- Check the tire pressure. This is also a simple thing to do, just compare the pressure in all tires to see if they are the same.
- Inspect the steering. With the help of an assistant, tell him to hold the steering wheel and then shake the wheels left and right. If you notice a play, then more likely steering parts are worn.
- Check the braking system. See if there are no dents or cracks on the braking discs and observe their wear, also don’t forget the pads, they should be uniform, check the mobility of the cylinders, and caliper guides.
- Check the car’s suspension. To see f the shock absorbers are worn, press firmly with both hands on the body on each side. If you hear sounds like knocks, or squeaks and the car is shaking too much, then there is a clear sign that the shock absorbers are worn.
The differential very rarely causes the car to pull on one the right or left, but if at the previous checks you did not find any faults, then it is worth checking it too
How to prevent the car from pulling to the right
When finding the exact cause it is good to fix it properly.
- If the problem is a failing shock absorber, rod, brake disc, pad, or spring, then it is good to change both parts. It is also not good to replace the steering parts with some second ones, they only need to be replaced with new ones.
- If you have been involved in an accident, check that the car’s geometry has not suffered and that the wheel alignment is done properly.
- Also, do not use old tires even if they look good.
There are quite a few aspects that cause the car to pull right or left. These can be dangerous if they are not fixed in time, especially if the problem is caused by faults in the braking system.