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What to do if your car is pulling to one side

What to do if your car is pulling to one side


  1. Identify the Issue.
  2. Check Your Tires for Pressure and Wear.
  3. Check Your Car's Service History.
  4. Book a Brake Inspection Immediately


A well-maintained car that's performing correctly should keep moving in a straight line, unless you turn the steering wheel or the car hits an obstacle on the road. However, as cars age, they can start to drift off to one side a little. At first, this might not be noticeable, but if you find you're constantly fighting to keep your car driving on the straight and narrow, it shows that there's an issue which needs you attention.


There are a few main potential causes of your car pulling to one side, so follow these steps to troubleshoot the problem before handling becomes dangerously unpredictable.


#1: Identify the Issue


When you first notice the problem you may only have a general feeling that your car isn't driving straight, or isn't under your complete control. But before going any further, you should pin down exactly how the car is behaving.


Does it always drift slightly to the right, or pull more strongly to the left? Does it happen more when you're accelerating, braking, or cruising? The more closely you can identify exactly what's going on, the quicker, easier, and less costly it will be for a technician to fix the problem.


#2: Check Your Tires for Pressure and Wear


One of the most common and easily fixed causes of sideways pulling is an issue with your tires. If they're not inflated to the correct pressure, then handling can be affected in all sorts of ways. In particular, if the tires are inflated unevenly, then some sort of sideways movement is almost inevitable.


But if the pressures are all okay and the problem persists, check for uneven wear on each tire. Differences in grip due to different tread depths will also cause drifting, while especially badly worn spots on a single side of the car usually indicates a deeper problem rather than just old tires.


#3: Check Your Car's Service History


If you do find bald spots, check your service history for the last time wheel alignment was checked. If it was a long time ago, then this is almost certainly the root of the problem. Badly aligned wheels will automatically pull the car to one side, and you can actually feel the steering wheel jerking out of line in particularly severe cases. If you suspect bad wheel alignment is an issue, book a service appointment as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your car's steering and suspension.


#4: Book a Brake Inspection Immediately


Lastly, if you still don't know what's causing the sideways pull, then book an inspection by a mechanic who's qualified for your make and model of car. The final major cause of sideways drifting is worn or malfunctioning brakes, and this is a problem that needs remedying without delay.


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