Why Is My Car Pulling to the Right or Left

When your car pulls to the right or left, or feels like it’s dragging to one side, it can cause some panic. Especially around oncoming traffic. While that pull or drag can be a safety issue, it can also add strain to your vehicle, reduce your fuel efficiency or range, and make it harder to drive. Let’s cover some of the more common reasons why your vehicle might pull to one side and what you can do to fix it.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Something as simple as low tire pressure in just one tire can cause your vehicle to pull to the right or left. It can also cause extra tire wear as well as impact your MPG or range. If your vehicle pulls to one side, check the air pressure in all four tires. Add air if a tire does not meet the manufacturer’s PSI (pounds per square inch) recommendation.

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Not sure how much air to add? The correct pressure or PSI for the air inside your manufacturer recommended tires are located in your owner’s manual or the driver’s side door sticker. If you need help, stop by Les Schwab. We offer free tire pressure checks at every store. We’ll even top the air in your tires for free.

Door placard showing proper PSI for your vehicle

Inspect Your Tire Wear

How much your tires are worn can affect how your car handles. If the tread is reduced more on one tire than the rest, your car or truck could pull to that side. That pull can also happen if the tread patterns are different due to mismatched tires or added rolling resistance. To check the overall tread on a tire, try the penny test. Not sure how to check the tread on your tires? Stop by Les Schwab and our pros will take a look and make recommendations, including a tire rotation.

Regularly rotating your tires every 5,000 miles can help avoid uneven tread depth and minimize the chance of your vehicle pulling to the right or left. Best of all, when you have Les Schwab tires on your vehicle, we’ll rotate them for free. Schedule your tire rotation today.

Wheels May Need Alignment

When the wheels on your car or truck aren’t all pointing in the same direction, it can cause pull or drag. This is called being out of alignment. Hitting too many potholes and curbs or going over a speed bump too hard can bring your vehicle out of alignment. Your alignment can also be affected anytime you modify or replace parts of your suspension, including lifting, leveling, or lowering.

If you notice one or more of your tires wearing more quickly than the others, or you’re experiencing pull to the right or left, your vehicle could be out of alignment. We suggest getting yours checked once or twice a year in the spring and fall. The trained professionals at Les Schwab can give yours a free visual inspection and let you know if you need any repairs.

Assess Your Brake System

Does your vehicle pull to one side when you hit the brakes? Often, it means one of your front brakes is working while the other is not. The issue could be uneven brake-pad wear. It could also be a broken or stuck part of the caliper hardware, which provides the clamping force that takes the pressure from your brake pedal and applies it to your brake pads to slow down your vehicle.

Not sure if the issue is your brakes? We have some tips to help you decide if you really need brake servicing. If you’re still not sure, come by Les Schwab and we’ll take a look.

Beyond the Basics

The top reasons your car might drag or pull to one side include tire pressure, tire wear, alignment issues, as well as brake problems. Other possibilities include:

  • ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems). Specifically, lane departure correction may be the cause. If your ADAS is off, even by a fraction, it can cause your vehicle to pull to one side.
  • Memory steer on vehicles that use a gearbox for steering. Issues can happen after a ball joint replacement or repair.
  • Lift, level, or lower kits installed without a proper alignment. When you get your vehicle lifted, lowered, or leveled at Les Schwab, we’ll complete an alignment before you hit the road. We’ll even do a follow-up alignment a few weeks later for free.
  • Tie rod replacement without a proper alignment. At Les Schwab, we perform an alignment after every tie-rod replacement.

Bring Your Car In For An Inspection

Les Schwab is here to diagnose why your car is pulling to the right or left, make repairs, and get you back on the road. That includes a free pre-trip safety check. Stop by or make an appointment at your local Les Schwab.