One of the most annoying complaints from vehicle owners is when the car pulls when braking. This defect is dangerous and could lead to an accident, which is why you need to know why the car pulls when braking and accelerating.
In this guide, we will look at the reasons and discuss what to do about it.
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9 Common Reasons Why Your Car Pulls To One Side When Braking
Wheel Alignment Problem
Having misaligned wheels is one of the top reasons that a car might pull. Getting regular wheel alignments should prevent this from happening, often performed once a year. However, if you got an alignment but the vehicle still pulls, you will need to run down our remaining list of causes to figure out where the problem stems from.
Inconsistent Tire Air Pressure
When the air pressure in your tires fluctuates, one tire could be running at a different level than the others. For example, if your car pulls to the right when braking or the car pulls to the left when braking hard, you want to check the tire pressures on that side. Inspect the pressures often and add more air if needed to correct the problem.
Worn Out Part In Steering Or Suspension
The steering and suspension systems in a vehicle are made up of many components that can go bad. When you have worn parts in these systems, there can be a significant impact to the handling, especially while accelerating or braking. The only way to know if the problem stems from these parts is to complete an inspection.
Worn Out or Damaged Brakes
Brake pads are meant to be replaced at regular intervals. However, there are problems that can cause the brakes pads to wear unevenly between replacements, which would lead to pulling issues.
One major problem is when a caliper gets stuck and causes pressure on the pads, causing one side to wear out faster than the others and create a noticeable pull.
Brake Fluid Leak
Brake fluid should never leak from the system, but several defects can cause that to happen. If a wheel cylinder or caliper piston is damaged, brake fluid can leak and create trouble with the entire system. You might notice a pulling sensation as a result, plus you could be able to spot the leaking fluid underneath the vehicle.
Collapsed Brake Hose
The brake hoses are responsible for delivering the hydraulic fluid to the appropriate parts of the system. When the hoses get old or damaged, they can collapse. When they are constricted in this way, the fluid can no longer travel through the appropriate destination, leaving you with all types of braking issues.
If the car pulls to the left when braking or you notice it dragging to the right, do a quick inspection of the hoses.
Frozen Piston In A Caliper Or Wheel Cylinder
The piston could also malfunction, leading to an issue with the wheel cylinder or caliper. To check this, you will need to lift the vehicle, so both tires in the front or back are off of the ground. Have a helper depress the brake pedal while you spin the wheel. If the wheels turn, the brake assembly might not be working as it should.
Failing Rear Brake Adjuster
If your vehicle has drum brakes, the problem could be the adjuster. When this part freezes, you might have a dragging brake shoe. Your brakes need to have the proper distance between the drum and shoe linings to work just right. Your vehicle could be equipped with the star wheel (screw) mechanism or a latch type.
Faulty Tires/Tire Conicity of Manufacturer
When you purchase new tires, you expect that they are in good condition, but that’s not always the case. The tire can be made with defects, often referred to as conicity.
If the components are misaligned, not only will you notice the car pulling to one side, but the tire tread rubber can start to wear abnormally. In general, tires should have a cylinder shape, not slightly coned.
What To Do If Your Car Pulls When Braking? (Self-Diagnosis Tips)
My car pulls to the right when braking – now what? Before you resolve to spend a lot of money on repairs, there are some simple things you can do at home. First, you want to pay attention to exactly what’s happening so you can narrow down the problem.
For example, if the car pulls to the left when braking hard, you might be looking at something completely different than if the car pulls to the right after an alignment.
Begin by taking a look at the tire where the pulling is occurring. Your problem could be something as simple as needing more air. If you can pinpoint the problem easily and correct it yourself, you could save a lot of money and time.
Brake Inspection For Car Pull (What To Expect At A Service Center)
When braking, if the car pulls to the left or right and you can’t figure out the cause, you must have it looked at by a qualified mechanic. Continuing to drive with these issues, especially if the car pulls right when accelerating and left when braking, is downright dangerous.
During an inspection, the mechanic will look over the entire vehicle, paying close attention to the brake system, steering components, suspension, and wheels. Included in this professional check will be the brake pads or shoes, rotors, hydraulic fluid, calipers, and all of the hoses. Once the problem is discovered, an estimate will be drawn up for the repairs.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Why does my car pull to one side when I accelerate?
Generally, the problem has to do with either a wheel alignment or issue with the tire. However, any brake system malfunction or worn suspension part can also cause pulling to occur.
Why does my car swerve when I step on the gas?
There’s likely a problem with a suspension component. For example, a loose or worn-out control arm bushing affects the direction of your vehicle significantly, especially during acceleration or braking.
Why does my car still pull after the alignment?
If you just got an alignment, but the car still pulls, something might not have been calibrated properly. However, if you notice the car pulls to the left after alignment, it could just be a coincidence that something else went bad during that time.
How do I stop my car shaking when I brake?
When the brake caliper gets stuck, it can cause a shaking and grinding when you push down the pedal. It can also reduce the car’s stopping power, so it should be checked out immediately.
If you are noticing that after an alignment the car still pulls left, or you are recognizing issues during acceleration, you want to have the vehicle checked out. Having a car that's difficult to handle can lead to an accident and injury.