5 Reasons a Car Pulls to the Right or Left (When Driving or Braking)

(Updated on June 3, 2022)

You might be driving along in your vehicle and suddenly notice that it will pull too much to the left or right side as you’re driving along or apply the brakes.

This can be a scary thing because you may not be able to steer the vehicle back to its original position in time. It will almost feel like the vehicle is controlling itself and that you have no control over it. This could cause you to panic and do something that will likely cause an accident. You just need to remain calm and understand what you are dealing with.

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For most people, the problem of your car pulling to the right or left will start out small. They will take their hands off the steering wheel while riding the brake and notice their vehicle pulling to one side.

At first, they will be able to steer the vehicle back to a centered position while keeping their hands on the steering wheel. This means the driver won’t be able to take a sip of water or grab their mobile device because both their hands will be completely occupied.

However, as the problem continues to get worse, steering the vehicle will eventually become ineffective. This is when it is clearly a safety issue and must be addressed immediately.

Related: 3 Causes of a Crooked Steering Wheel

Common Causes of a Car That Pulls to the Right or Left

There are a variety of reasons and causes for a vehicle that pulls too much to the right or left side while cruising, accelerating, or braking. Here are the most common reasons it occurs.

If your vehicle looks like it has one of these issues, then get the necessary parts repaired or replaced immediately.

1) Stuck Brake Caliper

brake caliper

The brake caliper is associated with a disc braking system. Braking fluid flows to the calipers from the master cylinder and adds pressure to its piston. This is how the brake pads are able to get pushed against the rotating brake disc to slow down and stop the vehicle.

But, if the brake caliper gets stuck for whatever reason, it could create a pulling effect to one side.

2) Brake Hose Malfunction

brake fluid leak symptoms

Brake hoses are responsible for delivering brake fluid to the brake calipers. If you have a brake hose that is damaged in any way, brake fluid may leak out and not get to these important components of the braking system.

Even if the hose looks fine on the outside and is not leaking, there could still be issues with the interior liner of the hose. If there is any restriction being placed on the flow of braking fluid, then your car will pull to one side as you step on the brake pedal.

3) Bad Wheel Alignment

symptoms of a bad wheel alignment

Sometimes the braking system itself has nothing to do with the vehicle pulling problem. If you have misaligned wheels under your vehicle, then they will aggressively pull to one side the harder you step on the brake pedal.

You may notice the pulling effect happening as you step on the gas pedal too.

Read Also: Average Cost of Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balance

4) Uneven Tire Tread

worn tire treads

It is important that all four tires have even treads and this is why regular tire rotations are so important. If you have tires on one side of your vehicle with flatter treads than the tires on the other side, this could be a problem.

The flatness on one side will cause a pulling effect to occur as you step on the brake pedal, especially if you step on it too aggressively. Try to be gentle with your braking and get your uneven tires replaced right away.

5) Too Much Load

overloaded weight truck

Different vehicles have a weight limit for how much of a load they can carry. If you have overstuffed your vehicle with heavy items, then don’t be surprised if you notice some pulling to the left or right side as you step on the brake pedal.

Your vehicle may not necessarily be weight down to the ground, but there could be a broken or missing suspension coil spring.

Related: Curb Weight vs Gross Weight Explained

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