My Car Is Still Pulling After Alignment: 9 Causes and Solutions
After a wheel alignment, cars that pull to one side can be frustrating and even hazardous.
The purpose of wheel alignment is to adjust the angles of the wheels so they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel with each other – this ensures even tire wear, smooth driving, and no pulling to one side.
Even after professional alignments, some drivers still experience this sensation.
In this article, we'll look into why your car still pulls after alignment as well as solutions for fixing it.
1. Misaligned Wheels
One of the most common reasons your car still pulls after alignment is that its wheels are not correctly set.
Wheel alignment involves adjusting angles such as camber, caster, and toe; if any of these angles are set incorrectly, pulling may occur to one side.
In such cases, the technician who performed the alignment may have overlooked one or more angles or made an error while adjusting them.
Solution: If your car is still pulling to one side after an alignment, take it back to the shop and request they recheck the alignment.
A reliable mechanic should be happy to check the angles again and make any necessary adjustments.
2. Uneven Tire Pressure
Another possible explanation for why your car may still pull after an alignment is uneven tire pressure.
If one or more tires' pressure is lower than the others, the car could pull to one side due to having a smaller contact patch with the road surface in that direction.
Solution: Check the tire pressure in all four tires and ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer's recommended pressure.
If one or more is low, inflate them back to their recommended level. If the problem persists, you could have a slow leak or puncture and should have your tire inspected by a professional for further assessment.
3. Worn Suspension Components
If your car still pulls after an alignment, it could be due to worn suspension components.
The suspension system keeps your wheels in contact with the road while absorbing shocks and vibrations from road shocks.
If any of its parts – shocks, struts or control arms – become worn or damaged, it could cause your car's pulling behavior towards one side.
Solution: If you believe the suspension components on your car may need replacing, have it examined by a certified mechanic.
They can inspect shocks, struts, control arms and other parts for wear or damage and suggest necessary repairs.
4. Braking Issues
Another potential explanation for why your car continues to pull after an alignment may be related to brake problems.
If one brake caliper is stuck or not releasing properly, it could cause the car to pull to one side due to ineffective braking on that wheel compared to its opposite wheel.
When this occurs, your vehicle may veer in that direction.
Solution: Have your brakes inspected by a qualified mechanic.
They can examine brake pads, calipers, and rotors for wear or damage and suggest necessary repairs.
5. Improper Tire Selection
If you recently replaced your tires with a different brand or type, they may not be compatible with your car's suspension and steering.
Some tires have stiffer sidewalls or different tread patterns which could affect handling and cause the vehicle to pull to one side.
Solution: Double-check the tire specifications to make sure they are compatible with your car's suspension and steering.
You can ask a mechanic online also if you are unsure.
6. Road Conditions
When the road surface is uneven or has significant crowning, your car may pull to one side due to lack of equal contact between tires and pavement.
In this instance, your wheels won't follow the contour of the road as closely as they should; instead, focus on keeping your speed consistent through all conditions.
Solution: Try to avoid driving on uneven or crowned roads whenever possible.
If you must, keep both hands on the wheel and maintain a steady speed.
7. Weight Distribution
When there is too much weight on one side of a car, it may pull in that direction.
This is especially true if there are not evenly distributed loads such as heavy objects in the trunk or on one side of the back seat.
Solution: Take any heavy items out of the car and distribute their weight evenly.
Ensure the trunk isn't overloaded and passengers sit in proper positions.
7. Steering Components
If the steering components, such as tie rods or steering rack, are worn or damaged, it can cause your car to pull to one side due to the inability to maintain proper wheel alignment.
This occurs if these worn parts cannot provide support for proper wheel alignment.
Solution: Have the steering components examined by a qualified mechanic.
They can inspect for wear and damage, then suggest necessary repairs.
8. Improper Alignment Type
If the alignment type for your car's suspension is incorrect, it could cause it to pull one way or the other.
Some cars require specific types of alignments such as thrust angle alignment in order to ensure proper handling and balance.
Solution: Be certain the alignment type you select is suitable for your car's suspension system.
Check the owner's manual or speak with a mechanic online of locally about your car.
9. Camber or Caster Wear
If the camber or caster angle on your vehicle is either set too low or has worn over time, it may cause it to pull to one side.
This occurs because the wheels aren't perpendicular to the ground and therefore cannot travel straight.
Solution: Have the suspension system examined by a qualified mechanic.
They can measure camber and caster angles and suggest necessary repairs.
A car that pulls to one side after an alignment can be frustrating and even dangerous.
The causes of this pulling could range from misaligned wheels to worn suspension components.
If your vehicle continues to pull after being aligned, it's essential that it be inspected by a qualified mechanic who can identify the issue and suggest necessary repairs.
By following the solutions outlined in this article, you can ensure your car handles correctly and safely on the road.
If you have further questions we recommend you speak with a mechanic whether online or locally about your specific case.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can an alignment fix a pulling problem?
Yes, an alignment may help solve the pulling issue when the cause of it is misaligned wheels. But, if other factors such as worn suspension components or brake problems are contributing factors, an alignment alone may not be enough to solve the issue.
How Often Should My Wheels Be Aligned?
Generally, wheel alignment should be performed once annually or every 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, if you notice any handling issues or uneven tire wear, then it's recommended that you get your wheels checked right away.
Can Driving on Uneven Roads Lead to Alignment Issues?
Yes, driving on uneven or rough roads can damage suspension components and affect alignment. Therefore, it is recommended that drivers avoid such roads if possible.
Is it Safe to Drive a Car That Pulls to One Side?
Driving a car that pulls to one side can be hazardous, as it affects its handling and may lead to accidents. If you experience pulling, have the car inspected by an experienced mechanic immediately.
How much does it cost to fix a pulling problem?
The cost of fixing any pulling problem varies based on its cause and necessary repairs. It could range from simple alignment adjustments to replacing worn suspension components, which could prove expensive. To get an accurate estimate of the costs involved with repair, have your car inspected by a professional mechanic first.