A smooth ride is everything you expect on your daily commute or family trip. That’s why it’s so discouraging to get behind the wheel only to feel yourself pulling left or right while driving. Unless you feel like fighting with your car during the trip, you need to know why the car is pulling to the right or left.
In this article, we look at the many reasons, helping you narrow down the problem. We also observe when the car stops, allowing you to resolve the problem much faster.
The most common reason a car pulls to the right or left is due to wheel misalignment or uneven tire pressure. It can also be caused by a bad wheel bearing or other faulty suspension parts.
Here is a more detailed list of possible causes of a car pulling to one side:
Causes of car jerking while driving
1. Uneven tire pressure
This would be the simplest and easiest problem to solve. When your tires have uneven pressure, you may feel like you are pulling to one side.
If the tire pressure is too high or too low in one tire, its height changes relative to the rest of the tires. This problem leads to misalignment. You want to check the recommended tire pressure on the driver’s side door jamb and check the pressure frequently.
However, if you consistently notice lower than normal tire pressure, you may have a more serious problem. Check your tires for holes or punctures.
2. Wheel alignment required
If the tires are fine, your next check should be an alignment. If the wheels and axles are not aligned correctly, the car can pull. You may also notice the problem by looking at the steering wheel.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take long for the mechanic to align the wheels. He wants to fix this problem immediately because wheel misalignment causes uneven tire wear, which means he will need to replace the tires sooner than expected.
3. Defective wheel bearing
Wheel bearings wear out over time and cause telltale symptoms when they deteriorate. Before you notice pulling on one side, you should notice other problems.
First, there will be a squeak in the tire area. Additionally, the steering wheel may begin to shake. Eventually, your car will start to pull.
Once the wheel bearing fails, you must stop driving the vehicle. Driving with poor orientation is dangerous and you do not want to endanger yourself or your occupants in the event of an accident.
4. Suspension or steering parts are worn
If the tires or wheel bearings are not the problem, you need to look deeper. In some cases, you may have a steering or suspension component that has gone bad.
In general, suspension and steering systems should be inspected annually to avoid any problems. That being said, a part can fail at any time, leading to overall ride and traction feel issues.
Reasons why the car jerks when braking
1. Damaged or stuck brake pad
If a brake pad is damaged, the car may pull during braking. Additionally, a poor quality brake pad is more likely to crack, especially if you use the brakes hard.
Over time, the crack will only deepen, causing the friction material to break away. As the brake pad material becomes smaller, your braking performance is hindered and you may notice lateral pulling. Worn brake pads will also wear down the rotors, so replace them immediately.
RELATED: 5 Symptoms of Worn Brake Pads
2. Defective brake caliper
The brake caliper is also an integral part of the braking system, which can cause pulling to one side. If the tongs are not properly maintained, they could become stuck.
Any time you deal with a sticky caliper, the braking force is reduced. Plus, the brakes drag, causing that telltale pulling feeling you get.
Reasons why the car jerks when accelerating
1. Misaligned suspension
Most of the time, when you notice jerks while accelerating, the problem will be related to suspension alignment. When the suspension is out of control, it is called radial traction with the tires.
You see, inside the tires are radial belts. These belts hold the tire in its circular formation and maintain its integrity on the road. However, with an alignment problem, the belts can break, which will cause the tire to pull, especially when accelerating. To fix this problem, you will need a new tire and an alignment.
RELATED: 5 Symptoms of Bad Wheel Alignment
2. Damaged suspension component
The suspension is designed to counteract bumps and road imperfections. Its job is to provide a smooth ride no matter what the road looks like.
If you notice a jerk during acceleration, you are probably dealing with some type of suspension issue. A component may be damaged or simply loose. A complete suspension inspection should narrow down the problem for you.
Reasons why the car pulls after a wheel alignment
The most common cause of why your car pulls after a wheel alignment is that the wheel alignment was not done correctly, but it can also be due to bad suspension arm bushing or suspension problems.
If you’ve checked the air pressure in your tires and aligned your vehicle but still feel a pulling sensation to one side, you may have bigger problems with your hand. At this point, a full inspection of the wheel bearings, brakes, suspension, and steering system would be necessary to determine what is causing the pulling. None of these issues should be left unaddressed or they will compromise your safety on the road.