Car Pulling To The Right: Top 11 Causes You Must Know

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Having your car pull to the right can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to keep moving in a straight line to avoid oncoming traffic. Don’t panic!

Possibly, it could be a minor issue, and it won’t cost you a dime to rectify it. Such problems include uneven tire pressure that can be mitigated by maintaining manufacturer-specified tire pressure. Others are more complicated, requiring a professional to fix, such as:

  • braking-related issues,
  • worn-out suspension parts,
  • wheel alignment and balancing issues,
  • torque steer,
  • tire separation,
  • tire rotation,
  • bad wheel bearing,
  • poor steering linkage, and 
  • tire design imperfections

Let’s dive into why these problems arise and how you can quickly fix them to enjoy a smooth ride. 

car pulling to the right
Having the car pull to the right (or left) might be orchestrated by alignment issues, uneven wear of wheels resulting from failure to rotate the wheels, tire tread design, tire separation, defective suspension parts, imperfections in tire design, faulty braking system, torque steer, bad steering linkage, wheel balancing, and damaged wheel bearings. 

Top 11 Reasons Your Car Pulls To The Right

(Note: The factors included in this article can also be the causes of your car pulling to the left)

1. Uneven Tire Air Pressure

Issues about the car pulling to the right aren’t always complicated. At times, the problem could be solved by adding or releasing some air from a tire. Over and under-inflation of tires results in the car leaning in one direction. Subsequently, the vehicle’s alignment is affected, hence resulting in the car pulling to the right. 

Mostly, the underinflated tire will have greater rolling resistance, resulting in a more pronounced pulling. 

You can check whether the tires are overinflated or underinflated. The former shows wear along the center of the tire, whereas the latter will wear the tire’s outer edges. Having low pressure on a tire could indicate that the tire might have been torn or a much bigger problem if you continue experiencing deflation issues. 

Vehicles have a tire pressure monitoring system (tpms) which includes a sensor on the rim and a monitor on the dashboard. When the car’s pressure significantly drops, the system will alert the driver by lighting up a flat tire sign. This system helps to keep tire pressure in check as under-inflation could damage the tire, the wheel, or the tpms itself. 

Regularly, ensure your vehicle has the manufacturer’s advised tire pressure in each wheel. If details on the correct tire pressure are a bit foggy, seek professional advice from a trusted mechanic to guarantee a safer ride next time you hit the road. 

How to check the air pressure in your tires

2. Different tread design of the front tires

car pulling to the right because of wrong front tire tread
The wrong tread in the front tires can cause your car to pull to the right or left.

After replacing the tire, having your car pull to the right could communicate that the tires are either poorly manufactured or have different tread patterns. Various tread patterns have contrasting rolling and wear characteristics. Therefore, the car may pull to the right on specific roads because of the different rolling properties of the tires. 

Having tires with different tire patterns, especially on alternating sides, will result in the vehicle pulling on the right. The front wheels are mostly affected by this phenomenon. Consequently, it is advisable to replace tires in pairs covering each axle and to stick to the car’s original tire pattern. In case you are only replacing a pair, then add it only to the rear wheels. 

Imperfections in the alignment of tire steel belts, located beneath the tread of tires, could cause the tread rubber to harden to cone shapes resulting in tire conicity. If this occurs on the right wheels, the vehicle will pull towards the right. 

Different tread tire is one of the reasons your car pulls to the right or left.

3. Tire Rotation

Failure to rotate the wheels can result in uneven wearing of wheels. Therefore, the vehicle becomes unstable and sways in one direction. Such a situation decreases the driving safety of your car. Hence, it is necessary to rotate the wheels of the vehicles frequently to guarantee even wear and tear of the vehicle wheels.

In most cases, you should rotate your tires after every 7,500 miles of travel or after six months of driving. However, some vehicles may have a different policy, and it is always better to check the manufacturer manual for further details.

Similarly, it is necessary to rotate your wheels in pairs to minimize the chances of the vehicle pulling to the right after a tire rotation. Nevertheless, if it occurs, the issue is more likely related to the tire design pattern or the difference in the wear of the tires.  

How to PROPERLY Rotate Your Tires to avoid your car pulling to the right or left.

4. Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment-related issues are noticed when you release the vehicle’s steering wheel while driving and the car sways toward the right. Alignment-related issues arise from rough driving, such as hitting a curb or driving over a pothole. Such challenges are mitigated by driving or towing your vehicle to the nearest wheel alignment and balancing center and correcting the problem.

The vehicle wheels, tires, and suspension are adjusted to the manufacturer’s wheel alignment and balancing requirements. You could choose to have a two-wheel alignment or four-wheel alignment. However, it is advisable to have a four-wheel alignment to eliminate errors related to improper axle alignments.

Suppose you still notice the vehicle pulling to the right after a wheel alignment procedure. In that case, the technician might have failed to account for the road crown; the slope engineers build to allow easier draining of rainwater on the road surface and avoid flooding. If such a scenario occurs, you should head back to the technician to explore further problems. 

Bad Wheel Alignment can cause your car to pull to the right or left

5. Brake Issues

Having your car pull to the right while braking could be dangerous, especially if you’re avoiding an obstacle. Such issues result from stuck brake calipers or a hydraulic fault. During braking, calipers, powered by the hydraulic braking system, apply external pressure on the brake pad to stop the vehicle. 

The car pulls the right after braking if the right calipers get stuck. Diagnosing the issue is very easy, and it only requires a visual check and removal of the caliper housing to inspect it. 

Caliper usually tends to get stuck if the guide pins are incorrectly installed, corroded, or not lubricated. Also, it could be that the pin won’t completely insert after replacing the pads, or perhaps they are stuck in the rotor. 

You can easily remove caliper pins with a screwdriver and a few gentle hammer taps. You can also get your hands on caliper removal tools from a nearby auto store to smoothen the process of changing into new caliper guide pins. It’s important to note that you might need to read the car’s service manual before starting the task.

Use high-temperature grease to lubricate the pins before inserting them into the housing. 

An experienced mechanic can also fix the caliper issue for you.  

How to Diagnose and Repair a Sticking Brake Caliper

6. Worn Suspension or Steering Parts

If you notice your vehicle veering to the right yet you are sure that the braking system is perfect, the suspension system might be the problem. When braking, worn-out suspension parts could shift position. 

For instance, faulty bushings on the lower arm cannot restrict motion on the arm resulting in the arm changing the position of the wheels. The more the parts are worn out, the more the vehicle will pull to the right. Have a mechanic replace the worn-out parts to get the car to normal functioning. 

Several steering issues: ball joints, control arms, struts, shocks, and bushings that wear over time.

The easiest and quickest way to detect the faulty component is by performing a visual inspection. Nevertheless, the suspension is a sensitive system and should be handled by a professional. Altering the suspension system could affect the drivability of the vehicle. Moreover, you are likely to have poor gas per mileage (GPM) and uneven tire wear if you get the wheel angles wrong.

Suspension System Components

7. Wheel Imbalance

Weight is a great determinant of how well your vehicle steers. Having unbalanced wheels results in the tires vibrating, which causes shaking of the steering wheel and the vehicle pulling to the right. Vehicle manufacturers add weights on the rims of the car to balance it. 

If you suspect a balancing-related issue, check to see if you’re missing weight on either rim. Typically, the weights are two, each on alternating sides of the vehicle—one on the rear wheel and another on the front wheel. 

Wheel Balancing Explained

8. Bad Wheel Bearing

Bad wheel bearing can lead to the car pulling to one side.

Wheel-bearing issues won’t go unnoticed. Usually, you’ll begin hearing grinding sounds around the tire region and slight shaking of the steering wheel. Next, the car will start to pull to the right if the right wheel bearings are faulty. Each wheel has its caliper, and if the right wheels’ calipers are sticking after braking, the wheels will veer to the right. 

Alternatively, problematic wheel cylinders or hydraulic fault might be the cause. These faults result in unnecessary friction acting on the brake pads, thus causing them to overheat. You’re likely to notice burning smells with the car pulling towards one side in such an occurrence. 

Since the braking system is sensitive while safety is concerned, it should be inspected by a qualified mechanic and repaired immediately. 

The best solution is to take the vehicle to a reputable mechanic and have it fixed. However, you may require to install new track rods, change intermediate drive shafts, or install an LSD (limited-slip differential).

How to Check a Wheel Bearing (Sound, play in the wheel, ABS light)

9. Bad Steering Linkage

Tie rods are essential components as they link the steering wheel to the vehicle’s wheels. Poor steering wheel linkage causes the vehicle’s steering wheel to shake more violently as the issue escalates and the car tends to move to the right. However, newer vehicle models have a rack and pinion steering system instead of a gearbox. Therefore, eliminating issues related to the bad steering linkage.  

How to Tell if Your Tie Rod is Bad

10. Torque Steer

Torque steer is the unexpected influence that the engine’s torque will have over the vehicle’s steering mechanism (especially in front-wheel-drive vehicles). This happens due to the force in the contact patch differences of the right and left drive wheels. 

The engine’s torque can at times affect the car’s steering. In the event of torque steer, front-wheel drive vehicles will drift to the right while accelerating. In such instances, several components might be at fault, including a defective motor mount, loose steering elements, failed busing of lower control arms, bent tie rod, ball joint excessive motion. 

Torque Steer Explained

11. Tire Separation

While manufacturing tires, they may be manufactured poorly, resulting in difficulty in smooth rolling or having trouble moving in a straight line. Tire separation will happen when the steel belt is forced by air to separate with the tire frame. 

You’re more likely to notice tire separation while cruising at low speeds as the steering wheels, and the vehicle wheels begin to shimmy or shake and the vehicle pulling to the right. Instances of tire separation are hazardous as they can result in sudden complete failure of tires. If you have ruled out any other issue that might cause the shaking and the vehicle pulling to the side, then change into new tires. 

However, it is much safer to get help from a professional who will rule out any other problem and change the vehicle’s tires for you. 

Tire Tread Separation

What if the cars are pulling to the left?

Cars can also pull left, only that the cause of moving towards the direction is opposite that of vehicles pulling right. For instance, the car will pull to the right since the right brake calipers are getting stuck. Therefore, the car would pull to the left if the left calipers were at fault.  

Vehicle Pulling To The Side – Problem Found & Fixed

Conclusion

Having the car pull to the right might be orchestrated by alignment issues, uneven wear of wheels resulting from failure to rotate the wheels, tire tread design, tire separation, defective suspension parts, imperfections in tire design, faulty braking system, torque steer, bad steering linkage, wheel balancing, and damaged wheel bearings. 

When facing such challenges, you must take the vehicle to a certified mechanic to investigate the underlying issues and fix them. Remember, your safety should come first!

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