Car vibration

Why Is my Car Pulling? - All Possible Reasons

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: July 27, 2017
Why Is my Car Pulling? - All Possible Reasons

Does your car make a funny pulling motion while you are diving? If you're finding it hard to control your vehicle while on the road, then it may actually be telling you there is an underlying problem. Though you may confuse it with a jerking motion, pulling defines the gradual movement of the car towards one side or the front while you are not indicating it to do so.

There are many causes that can make your car pull, so take a look at this oneHOWTO article to learn the reason why your car may be pulling, by detecting other symptoms that can confirm the source of the problem.

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  1. Why is my car pulling to the right or the left?
  2. Why is my car pulling when accelerating?
  3. Why is my car pulling when braking?

Why is my car pulling to the right or the left?

If your car seems to be pulling to one side, then there are some very common causes for this to happen. Take a look at each of the possible reasons and check for the symptoms to make sure they match your situation.

Problems with your wheel alignment

This is not a common cause for a car pulling to the left or right. If your car is always pulling to the side, from the minute you start it, your tires are visibly worn, your steering wheel is not straight when you are driving straight and your tires are also squeaking them this means you need to take your car to a professional mechanic's in order to have a wheel alignment.

Low tire pressure

The most common reason for car pulling is uneven pressure in the tires. If one of the tires has low pressure, then your car will pull towards the side which has the least pressure. This can also happen if you have only changed one of the four tires and the pressure in each of them is totally different. Check the pressure of your tires in any gas station and make sure you also check if your tires are retreated, as this can also cause pulling.

Tire conicity

If your car always pulls in the same direction, the pulling gets worse the faster you go and you notice that one of your car tires has a more cone-like shape, this means that one of the belts in it is not aligned adequately. This is simply a defect in the tire, and it will usually appear after it has been replaced, though it can appear in old tires too.

If you want to make sure this is the problem, change your tires from one side to the other. Do a test drive. If the car is pulling to the opposite side, volià! You have found the source of your problem.

You will need to change the tire for a new one that does not have this defect in this case.

Road crowns

Did you know that the problem may not be your car, but rather the levels of the road? If you notice your car only starts to pull in certain roads, it may be due to the way it was built. Do not think it's a default, engineers usually build them this way for proper drainage during rainy days. If you notice it always pulls when you are on a certain road and in the direction of the road drain, then you have identified your problem.

Why Is my Car Pulling? - All Possible Reasons - Why is my car pulling to the right or the left?

Why is my car pulling when accelerating?

This action is known as torque steer and it defines the moment in which your car slowly pulls to one side only when you are accelerating or using the throttle. There are also several reasons why your car is doing so, but first you should make sure it is not an alignment problem by putting your car in neutral and leave it to coast. If it does not pull at this time then you do have a torque steer problem

Loose steering components

If you have a front wheel drive system, where the power is given to the front wheels; then you will notice there are loose steering components if the pulling happens as you press the acceleration pedal.

To make sure this is the problem, press the acceleration pedal at the speed in which the pull happens. Release the throttle and, if when in neutral the pulling disappears, you have loose steering components, which could affect the car's ball joints, an excessively slacked tie rod or a deteriorated bushing.

Bent frame

If you feel like you are continuously driving at an angle and you have recently had a crash with your car, it is possible that your car's frame has been damaged, bent or even twisted. To make sure that you have a bent frame, you'll have to go under the car and take a look at the metal frame under it. If you notice there is a metal frame that is pointing at a wheel angle this may be the case, though a mechanic will be the only one to determine this is the real cause of your car pulling.

Change in axle angle

A change in the angle your car's axle can be the cause, though it's not the most frequent. When the differential gears get worn, it is the axle that will take excess power, which is why it can derive in a torque steer. You will notice this is the underlying problem if the pulling is also accompanied by a metal-like noise, you notice lubricant is getting burned and there is excess metal.

Why Is my Car Pulling? - All Possible Reasons - Why is my car pulling when accelerating?

Why is my car pulling when braking?

If your car pulls only when you press the brake pedal, then the problem is completely different. Take a look at the two possible reasons why this may happen.

Brake problem

There are several problems with your brakes that can cause your car to pull. For example, if your brake keeps dragging on a wheel even if you have stopped treading on the brake pedal, then you may have one of the following problems:

  • Sticking caliper
  • Hydraulic fault
  • Problems with the wheel cylinder

You will notice because you'll also smell a burning smell coming from the wheels.

Loose suspension

If your suspension is worn or loose, this will make your wheel change position, thus creating pulling. If you notice just a quick pull when you press the brake and it stops when you take your foot off the pedal then this may be the underlying problem.

Make sure you keep good car maintenance and learn when you need to change your car's suspension in order to avoid this problem.

If you want to read similar articles to Why Is my Car Pulling? - All Possible Reasons, we recommend you visit our Car Maintenance and Repair category.

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1 comment
Thanks for sharing this blog. If your steering wheel shakes while you are braking then the problem could be caused by “out of round” brake rotors. This vibration can also be felt through your brake pedal.
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OneHowTo Editor
Hi Vidhan,

Thank you so much for the tip, it's much appreciated!
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Why Is my Car Pulling? - All Possible Reasons