Driving a Bad Dancer? What to Do When Your Car Pulls to One Side

  • Jul 31,2017
Driving in wet road conditions, driver's hands on steering wheel and windshield wipers moving Driving in wet road conditions, driver's hands on steering wheel and windshield wipers moving

To the left, to the left. To the right, to the right. If your car is doing the "Cupid Shuffle" and pulling to one side or the other, something's off! Not only is this inconvenient, but it's also dangerous. The culprit could be uneven air pressure in your tires, improper wheel alignment, or worn suspension, to name a few. Follow along for some quick troubleshooting tips to get to the bottom of the pull.

Lean in: Get to know the issue.

The first thing to do is clarify the nature of the pull. Does your car consistently pull to the right? To the left? Only when you accelerate? Only when you apply the brakes? Figuring out the details will help narrow down the possible culprit and if needed, help your technician get to the root of the problem sooner.

Boogie down: Check tire pressure.

Improper tire pressure is one of the top reasons a car might feel like it's pulling to one side. Under- or over-inflated tires can affect the way your car leans, causing it to pull from right to left or front to back (almost like a heaving motion). Leaving your tires under- or over-inflated for too long can lead to alignment troubles down the road, so it's best not to let this one linger. Find your recommended tire pressure and head to the nearest air fill station to check and/or refill your tires. Short on time? Visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free tire pressure check.

Take center stage: Ask yourself about alignment.

If you're sure your tires measure in at the recommended tire pressure, ask yourself, "When's the last time I had my wheels aligned?" If the answer is, "I can't remember," then improper wheel alignment could be the culprit behind your car pulling.

If this is the case, you'll likely also notice uneven tread wear, a crooked steering wheel, and squealing tires. During a wheel alignment, a technician will adjust your wheels, tires, and suspension so that all angles are optimized to the manufacturer's specifications. The result? A smooth, steady ride that stays pointed in the right direction!

Freeze! Have your brakes inspected.

Now let's say you recently had a wheel alignment and you know your tires are at their recommended pressure levels. That's great! So what else could be causing your car to pull? Stuck calipers, for one. Your calipers apply pressure to your brake pads, a process which ultimately brings your car to a stop. Stuck calipers will lead to uneven pressure on your brakes and cause a slight pull to one side. Big or small, brake problems are a serious safety hazard. If you suspect your car has a brake problem, visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care as soon as possible.

Keep grooving. We'll help you keep it steady.

There are several other possible causes of a vehicle pulling to the side, including a bad wheel bearing, worn steering linkage, or weak tie rod—all of which are difficult to diagnose on your own and dangerous if left unattended.

If your car is doing anything that makes it difficult to steer, put your safety first and have things checked out by a professional. Take note of the conditions in which the car starts pulling and whether the pull is constant. Then bring your car by your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for an inspection and if needed an alignment, brake, or suspension service. We'll help you turn a "bad dancer" into a great partner.

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