A steady steering pull or "lead" to
one side may have any of a number of causes. The most likely
cause is wheel misalignment. This may be due to rear wheel toe
or axle misalignment, front wheel camber misalignment, too much
cross camber or caster alignment (more than a degree of difference
side to side), or someone having "aligned" the front
wheels without the steering wheel being properly centered beforehand.
In any event, it will probably be necessary to have the alignment
checked to diagnose and correct the problem -- unless one of the
following is causing the pull:
An underinflated front tire on one side. Check tire pressures
and make sure they are the same side-to-side (no more than a couple
of pounds of difference).
Mismatched tires. Tires of different size, aspect ratio
or even tread pattern on one side can create enough of a difference
in rolling resistance to cause a pull.
A weak or sagging spring. Measure and compare ride height
on both sides of your vehicle (measure at the fender openings).
If one side is an inch or more lower than the other side, chances
are you have a spring that needs to be shimmed or replaced.
A dragging brake. This can be caused by a frozen or sticking
disc brake caliper that doesn't allow the pads to kick back out
from the rotor or weak or broken return springs in a drum brake
that don't pull the shoes back from the drum. Another possibility
here might be a packing brake that isn't fully releasing on one
An uneven load. If you, your significant other or a passenger
is causing your vehicle to lean to one side, it can cause the
steering to lead in that direction. Don't laugh, a few hundred
extra pounds can make a big difference in a small vehicle -- especially
if the weight isn't evenly distributed side-to-side. If you can't
do anything about the extra weight, it is often possible to compensate
by having the wheels realigned with a "simulated" load
positioned in the vehicle. Of course, then your vehicle may lead
in the opposite direction if the extra weight is removed.
Excessive road crown. Roads are usually sloped (crowned)
from the center towards the sides for drainage. If you spend
a lot of time driving on highly crowned roads and find the constant
lead to the outside shoulder annoying, you can have the wheels
realigned to compensate for the excessive crown. Adding or subtracting
camber from one wheel or the other to create a difference in the
cross camber alignment of your front wheels can counteract this
kind of problem.
Search for more about this subject:
This will take you to Yahoo! Search results.