What can cause your vehicle to pull to one side? Let’s assume the obvious reasons have been rectified. Your vehicle’s alignment has been checked and has either been re-set to the manufacturer’s specs or it is in good shape. What could cause your vehicle to continue to pull to one side or the other?
Three Main Reasons Your Vehicle May Pull
There are three main reasons your vehicle may pull to one side. Number one, you might have improper inflation in one or more of your tires. Reason number two, you might have severe, irregular or uneven wear on one or more of your tires. Or, reason number three, you might have a radial pull or “conical” pull caused during the tire’s construction.
Improper inflation, particularly on your vehicle’s front tires will certainly cause your vehicle to pull to one side. The wrong inflation on your rear tires, especially if your vehicle has a shorter wheel base, can also cause your vehicle to pull to one side.
For instance, if one of your front tires has 35 pounds of air pressure and the other front tire has 28 pounds of pressure, your vehicle will pull toward the side with the smaller amount of air pressure.
Not only is the tire with less pressure sitting just a bit lower than the other tire, but there is also more rubber contacting the ground with an under-inflated tire. More rubber contacting the ground causes the tire to grip the road even more causing your vehicle to pull in that direction.
Severe, Irregular or Uneven Tire Wear
Severe, irregular or uneven tire wear can cause a vehicle to pull to one side. If you have a newer tire with more tread on one side, particularly on the front of your vehicle, and an older tire with much less tread on the other side, the tire with the newer tread is going to grip the road better. Your vehicle will pull in that direction.
The third reason your vehicle may pull to one side could have been caused when the tire was built. This is called tire “conicity”, or “radial tire pull”.
Tire conicity happens when the manufacturer of the tire fails to properly align the steel belts underneath the tread of the tire. More belting to one side causes the tire to inflate in somewhat of a cone-shape. Properly aligned belts inflate squarely, across the tread. Improperly aligned belts will cause a cone shape versus a square shape. Because of the cone shape, a tire will pull to one side. A characteristic of conicity is a pull that gets worse as the vehicle travels faster.
A test for this issue is to simply cross the two front tires. If the vehicle now pulls in the other direction, the pull is being caused by conicity. Or, or a radial tire pull. Radial tire pulls are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. However, a quick diagnosis is required in order for you to recoup your investment in a new tire. Tires with excess mileage or bad wear will, in most cases, not be warranted by the manufacturer.
If you have questions about your tires or any other of your vehicle’s functionality, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also come by our store in Tuscaloosa on Jug Factory Road behind McDonalds.
Postle Tire Barn has been assisting our customers and making their vehicle’s road-ready for more than 34 years.