Q. My car is pulling towards left / right even when driven on a straight and smooth road

Ans – This is a common problem faced by all drivers at some point in time during driving.There could be several reasons that may be causing this. So one must get following points checked in order to find the root cause for vehicle pulling. Good news is that all of the problems are easy, and more importantly, economical to fix!

  • First of all get the tyre pressures checked in all the 4 tyres. Uneven tyre pressure is one of the common reasons for vehicle pulling in many cars.
  • Wheel alignment changes if tyre pressure is not maintained properly in all 4 tyres. The toe angle also changes over a period of time causing the wheel alignment to go out and as a result tyre wear and ultimately vehicle pulling. It is always advisable to get wheel alignment done once in 6 months and also when suspension service work is done. 

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  • If one side of the tyre crown area is worn out more than the other, then the vehicle will be pulled towards the side which is worn out more than the other. In this scenario, it is better to get the tyre conditions checked.

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  • Check if the vehicle drifts only when brakes are applied. Sometimes, it happens that brakes do not retract easily when released. One side brakes take more time to retract than the other. This causes a drag effect which ultimately results in pulling of the vehicle to that side. Depending on the intensity of the drag, the pull will be equally noticeable when brakes are applied and released. After confirming that this is the root cause for the vehicle pulling, one needs to get the brakes rectified at an authorized service centre.

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  • If none of the above turn out to be the reasons for the drifting, then one needs to get the vehicle underbody checked by service center to check for any damaged, bent or weak suspension components. Sometimes our car meets with an external impact as a result of small incidents such as going over a big rock or on a curved in road. Such incidents may cause damage to the structural steering and / or suspension parts. It causes the critical parts to break, go weak, bend or dislocate depending on the impact conditions.

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  • By getting the car underbody checked by a technician will give you a confirmed report for any irregularities in general and also which of these are causing vehicle pulling.  This may turn out to be a slightly more expensive affair since some of the steering and suspension parts are expensive. On the other hand, you might be lucky and only the less expensive parts would have been damaged and the expense might be spared. In cases of external impact one can claim insurance if it turns out to be beneficial – this of course would depend on the severity of damage.

  • For example – Sometimes the rear axle gets damaged and bent in a minor incident of running over a mid-sized rock on the road. Rear axle is very expensive in the range of Rs. 90,000 for a mid-sized sedan. In such a case it is beneficial to claim insurance to cover the damages.
  • Contrary to this case, suppose a tie rod is found to be bent in a minor incident then it is not advisable to claim insurance because the part costs in the range of 1000-3000 for a hatchback/mid-size sedan.

Key take aways –

  • Wheel alignment and balancing should be periodically done to avoid any kind of pulling in the car and to avoid damage to tyre condition.
  • Whenever car goes for servicing always mention to check underbody which will help in noticing any bend or damage to suspension and other parts at early stage thus avoiding vehicle pulling and any other kind of malfunction.
  • Make it a habit to get the tyre pressure checked periodically, the frequency of which will depend on the usage of the vehicle.