If your car pulls to the right, it may be due to low/uneven tire pressure, uneven tire wear, conicity or separation in a tire, improperly aligned wheels, worn suspension components (like tie rods), worn brake parts (like brake calipers), or torque steer.
When your vehicle starts pulling to one side—whether all the time or only when braking or accelerating—it can feel as though you’re fighting just to keep yourself in between the lines.
Having to deal with a vehicle that won’t drive straight can be incredibly annoying and poses a safety risk if left unchecked. That’s why
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car repairarticle breaking down the most common reasons for your car to pull to the right and what to do to remedy them.
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Common reasons a car pulls to the right
Unfortunately, there are many things that can cause your vehicle to pull to the right, and not all of them are easy to diagnose. However, some issues occur more frequently than others, several of which we’ve outlined below.
Tire conicity and separation
Your car may be pulling to the right due to something called “tire conicity” or a defect caused by flawed manufacturing that leads to the tire inflating in a cone-like manner.
Similarly, tire separation—the phenomena by which the tire’s belts separate from the tire’s carcass—can also result in your car pulling to the right. Tires afflicted by conicity or separation cannot be fixed and must be replaced with new tires.
Tire pressure is inconsistent
One of the most common reasons for vehicle pull is inconsistent or uneven air pressure in your tires. If a tire on the driver’s side of your car has a low tire pressure compared to its passenger-side counterpart, it will throw off your wheel alignment and allow the car to start pulling to one side.
tire pressureis an easy fix—all it requires is an air compressor and a tire gauge to get things back on equal footing.
Wheel alignment is off
If your car starts to pull to the right whenever you let go of the steering wheel, your wheel alignment may be off.
Misalignment of the wheels can come on suddenly—such as after hitting a large
pothole—or gradually over time, which is why it’s recommended you have a mechanic realign your wheels every 6,000 miles.
Car needs a tire rotation
Similarly, your car may pull to the right if your tires need to be rotated. This can usually be fixed by simply switching the two front tires but may require rotation of the rear tires as well.
Uneven tire wear
Uneven tire tread wear is another common reason for your car to start pulling to the left or right, especially if you’ve recently
replaced a tirewithout replacing its opposite. This is due to the old tire having less tread than the new tire, which allows the new tire to grip the road better and pull to one side.
Once your tire tread wears down, there is no way to get it back—you’ll either need to have your tires rotated or replace all four tires to correct the pull.
Worn brake parts
If your car veers to the right only when braking, there is likely something wrong within your brake system.
One common brake-related reason for pulling to the right is a stuck caliper. If one of your brake calipers sticks, your brake pads will continue to make contact with the rotors even after pressure has been removed from the brake pedal.
Other brake-related issues cited as common causes of a car pulling to the right include a collapsed brake hose and worn brake pads.
Worn suspension parts
Worn suspension parts—such as the lower control arm bushing—can also result in pulling to the right, as a worn suspension can result in irregular vehicle alignment (which subsequently leads to uneven tire wear) or shifting of suspension parts upon braking.
Seeing as your vehicle’s suspension system is made up of many parts—such as shock absorbers, bushings, struts, linkages, springs, and ball joints—that are subject to regular wear and tear, it is a
good idea to have a mechanic inspect your suspensionif you start noticing vehicle pull.
Uneven tire wear/uneven tread wear is also a common indicator of suspension issues.
If you start noticing your car is pulling to the right upon hard acceleration, you’re experiencing something called “torque steer,” a common issue for drivers of front-wheel drive vehicles.
Torque steer is common in FWD vehicles due to the fact that their transversely mounted engines employ drive shafts of unequal lengths. This can lead to the wheel on the shorter shaft gaining torque upon acceleration, causing it to pull harder than the wheel on the longer shaft.
How to tell if your car pulls to the right
Generally speaking, it should be easy to tell whether your car pulls to the right. It will be difficult to keep your vehicle moving in a straight line, and you may find yourself turning the steering wheel more frequently just to keep within the lines.
Depending on what the issue is, you may only notice your vehicle pulling to the right when accelerating or braking.
What to do if your car pulls to the right?
If your car starts pulling to the right—be it only when braking or all the time—you should visit an automotive repair shop as soon as possible to diagnose the issue and find out where exactly the fault lies.
Once a mechanic is able to pinpoint the problem, they’ll be able to walk you through what your options are in terms of repair or replacement services.
Continuing to drive a vehicle that pulls to the right can quickly become a safety hazard, especially if the underlying issue could cause imminent brake system or steering failure.
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What’s the difference between a pull and a drift?
A vehicle that pulls will only pull to one side, whereas a vehicle that drifts may “wander” back and forth. Both issues force the driver to exert more effort on the steering wheel just to keep the vehicle between the lines.
Why is my car still pulling to the right after an alignment?
If your car is still pulling to the right even after an alignment, chances are you’re dealing with uneven tire pressure, uneven tire wear, or a brake-related issue.