Car pulls to the right — causes and fixes
Have you ever experienced a weird case of your car pulling to the side, even though you are holding the steering wheel straight? If not, chances are that you are destined to face it sooner or later, as it’s more common than you think.
Curiously, it rarely has anything to do with the steering wheel itself. So, if the car pulls to the right, you need to know the essence behind the problem to fix it. Our team is there to guide you, so let’s find out why this bizarre steering problem occurs.
Why is your car pulling to the side?
If you aren’t driving your car too fast, and just prefer cruising through the highway traffic, you might not even notice this problem for a while. It mostly manifests as you drive in a spot in the lane with much distance between you and the other cars.
You might relax your hand a bit and relieve the pressure on the steering wheel, only to see a big surprise! Your car starts pulling to the side, even though you aren’t doing anything with the steering wheel.
Of course, this shouldn’t happen, and you should sort it out as soon as possible since you don’t have a proper steering response. It’s not safe to drive this way, and the first thing you should check is your tires.
There are numerous reasons why tires could be the culprit but for starters, check your tire tread depth. If your tires are worn-out, replacing them with a new set could easily sort out the issue.
However, this could also be a matter of suspension or the wheel position. It doesn’t have anything to do with your steering wheel – it rather has to do with the connection between the steering wheel and suspension components.
Common reasons behind your car pulling to the right
Let’s get real here now that we’ve covered the basics and lead you to hopefully sorting the steering problem. There are numerous reasons why your car might be steering to one side without you directing it, and noticing the pulling side and the moment where it happens is half the work.
Here are some of the most common reasons behind your vehicle pulling to the right:
- Your front right tire is under-inflated
- Bad CV joint on the right side
- Unaligned wheels
- Torque steer
- Uneven brake wear
It’s also worth mentioning that the pulling to the right side could be caused by a factory defective tire. The problem is in tire conicity in this case, and it’s a defect that causes the rubber compound to be badly aligned, often in the cone shape.
You can simply replace the tires with one another to see if your car will pull to the left. Even if there’s no more pulling, it can be a sign of the defective tire initially set on your right wheel side. The only way you can deal with tire conicity is by changing the tire with a new one.
Differences in tire pressures
Let’s assume you are driving a front-wheel drive vehicle. If you notice your car pulling to the right, it can be a result of the difference in tire pressures. There’s the recommended tire pressure and it should be the same for both left and right tires on the same base.
This lets you steer your car properly and without any pulls, so if the right tire is under-inflated, it could cause your car to pull to the right. You won’t need a tire pressure gauge to check this – simply stop your car and observe the right tire for poor inflation.
Bad outer right CV joint
The CV axle distributes steering power from the transmission and the differential and delivers it to the wheels. It consists of two outer joints and two inner joints on the same wheelbase. So, if your car pulls to the right, chances are that you have a bad CV joint, or the outer joint has worn off to be precise.
Most commonly, you’ll find the source of the problem by getting under your car and examining the CV boot on the right side joint attached to the right wheel. If the rubber degrades, chances are that lubricating grease will pour out, causing the joint to malfunction.
Not only will your car pull to the right in this case, but you might also experience steering difficulties over bumps. The best way to test this is to slowly turn the wheel to the right, and if you hear any cracking sounds, you’ll know it’s the joint problem.
Problem with wheel alignment
Wheel alignment is important for proper steering, and your car pulling to the right is just the reason why. It’s important to have your wheels aligned every 6000 miles, or within the next oil change. This doesn’t reflect on your tires – it’s a matter of suspension.
It’s the most common reason why your car might pull to one side. Besides your car pulling to the right, bad alignment can also result in uneven tire wear and excessive tread waste. It’s caused by high friction between the tire and the ground as the wheel struggles while steering.
So, alignment is essential for your car’s tires to contact the road at just the right angle. Your wheels might have gone out of alignment in case you notice the car pulling to the right.
Car pulling to the right due to torque steer
If your car pulls to the right only when you floor the gas pedal, it could be due to torque steer. This occurs mostly with front-wheel drive cars. The front wheels are both drive wheels and steering wheels in this case, and a sudden increase in the engine’s torque output disrupts the steering pattern.
For instance, if you are driving a naturally-aspirated V8 car with a manual transmission like the Camaro SS, you can floor the gas and experience torque steer even in the first gear. It only stops when your tires grip the road completely synchronized with the torque output. Turbo-charged engines capable of producing immense torque performance can even result in toque steers later on through gear shifting.
Uneven brake wear
In case you only experience pulling to the right while braking, it’s possible that your brake components aren’t wearing off evenly. However, it can also be a result of a stuck caliper, causing the brake pad to pressure the rotor even as you let go of the brake pedal.
It will shortly cause squeaking and other braking noises as well, and you can easily recognize it by paying attention to the steering direction as you brake suddenly. You should inspect the brakes on your front right wheel if this happens. If they wear off faster than brakes on the front left wheel, it’s surely the culprit behind your car pulling to the right.
So, if your car pulls to the right, don’t just pretend like it’s not happening if it doesn’t cause many steering issues. It’s probably not a critical issue, but it can turn out to be one in case the difference in tire pressure gets too drastic.
Also, if it is caused by worn-off brakes or a bad wheel alignment, it’s not safe to keep driving like that. Hopefully, this guide will help you get a better understanding of the issue and figure out the solution to get your car’s steering performance optimized again.
How do you fix a car that pulls to the right?
You can fix a car that pulls to the right by aligning the wheels, replacing a worn-off tire, and adjusting the tire pressures of the drive wheels.
What could cause my car to pull to one side while driving?
Uneven tire pressure, bad CV joint, unaligned wheels, or torque steer can cause your car to pull to one side while driving.
Why is my car still pulling to the right after an alignment?
Your car is still pulling to the right after an alignment due to improperly calibrated tires during the alignment, or bent or damaged suspension components.