When your car pulls or drifts to one side, it can be both annoying and downright dangerous. But why did this start happening? Your car didn’t always steer to the left, so why is it doing it now?
The truth is, there are dozens of reasons your car could be pulling to the side. It may even be as simple as driving on poorly engineered roads – which isn’t completely unheard of in the Downey, Long Beach, and Los Angeles area.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the other machine-related issues that can cause your car to start drifting or pulling.
First, we need to decide what kind of pull it is. Is it a steady pull, memory steer, steering wander, or bump steer?
When your car suffers from pulling, you most likely experience a steady pull to one side despite steering the vehicle straight. To go straight, you probably have to apply a steady amount of pressure on the steering wheel to compensate for the pull.
This type of pull is by far the most common and has a variety of causes. For example, it could be due to a problem with your braking system. A sticking caliper or too much fluid in the master cylinder would cause the caliper to push against the wheel and cause drag. Or it could be caused by unevenly worn tires, low air pressure, unbalanced power assist, or a multitude of other complications.
When you loosen your grip on a properly working steering wheel, it should gravitate to the center position. Memory steer, however, is when the wheel returns to a position other than center. This could be a sign of an alignment problem or some other issue involving the tie rod.
The tie rod – in case you were curious – is an integral part of your car’s steering system. It ties the steering rack to the steering arm, which is attached to the wheel. They play a key role in moving the wheels when steering and turning.
Similar to a steady pull, steering wander is when your vehicle strays to the side, but instead of just one side, it seems to wander back and forth. This may be a result of extremely low tire pressure, loose or poorly adjusted wheel bearings, or loose and worn steering components.
Again, the tie rod could be to blame and should be properly inspected by a professional.
This type of pull refers to when you experience a sudden jerk or pull after going over a bump. This condition isn’t nearly as common as, say, a steady pull, but it does still happen.
Common causes of bump steer are bent steering arms, an unleveled steering rack, and structural damage such as a twisted frame or engine cradle.
If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s important to schedule a service appointment and have your car properly inspected by an automotive technician so an accurate diagnosis can be made.
At Norm Reeves Ford, we serve the entire Los Angeles, Downey, and Long Beach area with reliable automotive services. Visit our Ford service department page now to learn more about our service technicians and service details.