Why Does Your Car Pull to One Side?

By David Sholicar

Have you ever noticed your car's steering pulling to one side as you drive, or under braking?

steering wheel

Not only is this annoying but it could be dangerous, so it’s important to identify the cause and get the problem corrected as soon as possible.
There are a number of reasons why a car may pull to one side, so let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:


Pulling to one side is often related to problems with tyres. These can include uneven tread wear, a tyre that’s been incorrectly fitted, or a tyre that is under inflated. Fitting a new tyre can also lead to problems: if you only fit one it can have a deeper tread and different tread pattern than the others. Ideally, when buying new tyres, you should change both tyres on the axle at the same time in order to eliminate the risk of problems.

If you’re changing just two tyres it’s also safest to have the new tyres on the rear and the partly worn ones on the front. This is because the rear is always more lightly loaded under braking and therefore likely to lose grip first. If you need new tyres or want to get your existing ones checked, then your local Protyre garage can help.


If your car pulls to one side when you brake, this is likely to be a problem with the braking system. A sticking caliper or a fault with a wheel cylinder can cause a brake on one side to grab harder than that on the other so that the car veers to one side.
A brake that is sticking on or dragging can also cause the vehicle to pull to one side in normal driving. In these circumstances you’re likely to notice the brake becoming hot or even a burning smell as you drive along.

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Suspension and steering

One of the most common cause of pulling to one side is the tracking or wheel alignment being out of true. This is often a misunderstood area of car maintenance. Wheel alignment refers to the angle of the car’s wheel in relation to each other and to the car body.
There are three adjustments involved in aligning wheels. The toe angle that determines whether the wheels point in or out, the camber angle that is the tilt of the wheel relative to the body, and the castor angle that dictates how vertical the wheel is relative to the suspension. Incorrect alignment can not only lead to the car pulling to one side, but it can also affect the handling of the car as well as leading to uneven wear on your tyres. It’s therefore important to have your alignment properly checked.
Setting the wheel alignment is a complex task needing specialist equipment; it's not one for the amateur mechanic. All Protyre garages have the expertise and equipment necessary to do the job, so check our website to find your nearest one.

Get Free Steering and Suspension Checks at Protyre

Protyre offer a range of Free Vehicle Checks across our garage network including Steering and Suspension checks. Select one of the options below to book your vehicle in at your local Protyre garage:

Free Steering CheckFree Suspension Check

How can I find out where my local Protyre garage is?

We’re the local garage you can trust, with many garages nationwide, finding a Protyre close to you is simple. Search for your nearest Protyre garage using our Garage Locator by clicking the button below:

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By David Sholicar
David is the National Retail Operations Manager for Protyre. One of David’s areas of responsibility and expertise is dealing with the DVSA and MOT’s for Protyre. As the Authorised Examiner Designate Manager ( AEDM ) David deals with applications for changes to the many Vehicle Testing Stations ( VTS’s) including managing the growth of the Number of MOT testing stations that Protyre operate, allocating MOT tester roles, and monitoring the MOT Test logs to ensure that Protyre MOT standards are maintained as the best in the industry.
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