One of the most common car problems drivers experience on the road is that their vehicle is pulling to one side while driving or braking. In some cases this can easily be resolved by regulating the tire pressure. However, uneven tire pressure is not the only reason for this problem. Tire wear and tear, brakes malfunction and improper wheel alignment can all contribute to the problem of your car drifting to one side. This kind of defect needs to be addressed as soon as possible before it leads to a bigger problem and reduce your potential car service costs.
Uneven pressure on the tires is the usual problem when it comes to the car pulling on the right or left side while driving. The tires are supporting the vehicle’s weight, engine and brakes and reduce the effects of road friction. Therefore, proper maintenance will ensure better vehicle manoeuvring and greater fuel economy. If your car is pulling to one side, inspect your tires for pressure, wear and tear and possible tire mismatch.
Tire Pressure – Tires need to be inflated according to the manufacturer’s specifications at all times. If, for example, the right front tire’s pressure is not at the proper inflation level, your car will drift towards that side. Also, improper tire inflation leads to extensive tire wear, increased friction and rolling resistance which results in higher fuel usage. Refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended air pressure levels and using any petrol station’s tire pressure gauge check all four tires and add or remove air to ensure equal tire inflation. This will improve the vehicle handling, the fuel usage and can put your car driving in a straight line again.
Tire Mismatch – This is alright only for a short period of time, if, for example, the vehicle’s regular tire is getting fixed, or you are using a spare one. Otherwise, make sure all tires are of the same size, tread pattern and aspect ratio. Mismatched tires increase rolling resistance which can cause for the vehicle to pull to one side.
Wear and Tear – Inspect your tires for uneven wear, separating tear, cracks, cuts and blisters as these can all cause for a vehicle to pull to one side. Pay special attention to the depth of the tire tread which will show you the true condition of your tires. A tip-off that your tires need to be replaced is thread wear bars that are even with tire tread. Have them replaced but have your wheel alignment checked as well since uneven tire wear is the main indicator that wheels are most likely out of alignment.
If your car seems to be pulling to one side; the steering wheel either vibrates or it might not be centred; and if your tires are fairly new but you have noticed wear on the outside then your wheels will need to be re-aligned. Wheel alignment refers to a specific angle in which wheels are parallel to each other and perpendicular with the ground. Properly aligned wheels do not only ensure a safe drive, but easy car manoeuvrability and economic gas usage as well. Therefore, take your car to an auto shop and have a licensed mechanic perform wheel alignment.
Brakes are, without a doubt, the most important safety feature of a vehicle and need to be maintained and checked regularly. If your car pulls to one side when you tap on your breaks, it is most likely due to a stuck calliper, master cylinder malfunction or a clogged brake hose. If you’re familiar with car repairs and want to find out what seems to be the problem yourself, lift up the front of your vehicle so both front wheels are off the ground. Then spin each wheel to see if the brakes are dragging. If they are, then the calliper is probably stuck and you should replace it.
If, however, it’s not a case of dragging brakes, check to see if they are working properly. While you have your vehicle put up in the air, get a friend to step on the brakes really hard and keep it pressed down while you rotate the wheels. If one of the wheels spins freely, it means that the calliper isn’t squeezing the rotor properly. You should pull the wheel off and first check the brake hose to see if fluid is coming to it from the master cylinder.
When you step on the brakes, if the fluid is coming out, then the problem might be clogged hose which means it’s time for a new brake hose.
When it comes to brakes problems, we highly recommend you to visit your local car mechanic, to get the best diagnosis of the problem and get the work done by a professional mechanic workshop.