Causes of Crooked Steering

by Admin January 4, 2012

We’ve covered crooked or “drifting” steering in the past: if while driving your car you notice that it pulls to the left or right on its own, chances are you’re due for a wheel alignment.

However, there are other factors that cause subtle or dramatic changes in steering when seeking repairs. Some of these factors include:

Bad tires: There are a few tire related problems that can affect your steering. If one or more tires are underinflated on one side of the car, the car will pull in that direction when driving. That’s why it’s important to check your tire pressure. Tires with different sizes and even tread patterns can also affect your steering. When replacing your tires, make sure that the brands, models, and sizes match up among all your tires.

Brake issues: if your brake pads are touching the disc or do not disengage properly when you release the brake pedal, that will affect steering. By repairing the “sticky” or weak brake, the steering should improve.

Load distribution: If your vehicle is packed with cargo (or people) and the weight is not distributed evenly, your steering will favor the weighed-down end. To fix your steering, you can either redistribute the weight or have your wheels aligned with the load distribution accounted for. Of course, making this adjustment and then driving without the weight can affect steering – so think carefully before getting such an alignment.

The road itself: Nearly all roads in the US have “crowning,” which means that the center of the road is raised to create a slope to provide drainage. Unfortunately, not all roads have equal crowning and too much of it can cause your steering to drift. If you drive on these types of roads a lot, you can have your wheels aligned in a manner similar to the load distribution solution above.

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