Tire pulls to one side— how to diagnose
When a tire pulls to one side, the driver has to make constant corrections just to maintain a straight ahead direction. However, some tire pull complaints are caused by driving on city streets with a steep road crown. So, how bad does it have to be in order to consider it a problem?
If your car drifts over one lane in 5-seconds at 60-mph if you let off the wheel, that qualifies as a serious tire pull condition.
Several things can cause a tire pull. Let’s take a look at them in order of severity
• Incorrect tire pressure can cause a tire pulls to one side condition. A small 3-psi difference can cause a tire pull or tire lead condition. So always start your diagnosis by checking the tire pressure.
• A dragging brake can cause a tire pull condition. Check the caliper slide pin movement on a floating brake caliper. Check for a binding brake pad.
• Next, rotate the tires to see if the tire pull changes. Start by swapping the front tires side-to-side. If the pull changes to the opposite direction, it’s caused by the tires. Next, move the front tires to the rear. If the tire pull goes away, you’ve again confirmed the cause is the tires.
Ride height can cause a tire pull
A vehicle’s geometry and alignment changes as the spring sag and ride height falls. Also, ride height can change if you’ve hit a large pothole and bent a suspension component.
You’ll find the specified height and measuring location for ride height in the shop manual
To check for bent suspension components, measure the height from the floor to the bolt at the inboard side of each lower control arm. Next, measure to the center of each spindle. Subtract the spindle height from the bolt height. The result should be less than ½”. If it’s greater than that, you have a bent suspension component.
©, 2021 Rick Muscoplat
Posted on by Rick Muscoplat