Hot Topics: Steering Wheel Shakes, Car Pulls to the Right

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Original Post: Steering Wheel Shakes - Car pulls to right

chanesworth - Member

I am about to take my car to the dealer to have them look over my problem, but I wanted to get some opinions on what this could be. My steering wheel shakes, (actually it is more like a gentle pulling to the right) while I am driving. It only occurs when I am driving not when I am stopped. Also, if I let the steering wheel go, the car immediately pulls to the right. I was under the assumption that it would just need an alignment, but a friend of mine told me that if it was only an alignment, the steering wheel would not shake/pull. Any ideas on what this could be would be greatly appreciated.

indy-diy - Member

The simplest thing would be a low tire on the right side. Check your tire pressure before taking it to the dealer.

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

Vibration usually means something loose/worn, could be a simple as an out of balance tire, could also be loose wheel or worn front end parts.

A low tire will definitely make the car pull to that side, bad alignment can also.

As indy suggested, check your air pressure [best done when tires are cold] If you can jack up the front end you can check further for loose/worn parts.

I wouldn't ignore this problem as it will only get worse and could possibly become dangerous.

chanesworth - Thread Starter


I will check the tire pressure today and if that doesn't fix the problem, I will get it to the shop for an alignment.

michael van - Member

I would check brake

I would check for a warped brake rotar that will also cause a shake and pull to one side.

wrench47 - Member

I was thinking more of a stuck caliper/dragging brake.

michael van - Member

that might be the cause

A stuck caliper/dragging brake would cause pulling but also overheat the rotar causing it to warp therefore causing the shake.

chanesworth - Thread Starter

Well tried an alignment and checked tire pressure and that did not work. The alignment guy told me that he thought that I needed new pads and rotors for the rear so maybe that has something to do with it

marksr - Forum Topic Moderator

I wouldn't think rear brakes would affect the front end. Does the vibration go away when brakes are applied? Does the car still pull to right?

If the car still pulls to the right I'd go back to the alignment shop and verify they didn't miss something, have them road test it.

chanesworth - Thread Starter

The car pulls to the right constantly. I've noticed that when I am just creeping along, it feels as if someone is consistently tugging on the steering wheel. They didn't road test it when I got the alignment, they just put it on some machine that is supposed to automatically align the wheels. I will take it back and have them road test it.

mrbkeller - New Member

Sounds like a combination of warped rotors and possibly a stuck caliper. My Cherokee did this to me at one point before I did a brake job. After you get to a destination point, jump out of the vehicle and look through your rim at the rotors. If any of them are glowing bright orange, or putting off any smoke, then you definitely have a stuck caliper which doesn't let your brake pads release the rotor, this is causing your brake pads to rub on the rotor the entire time the car is in motion, therefore heating them up and putting off smoke due to burning of the brake pads.

If you don't have either of the above conditions and the alignment guy says the car is good, after the second time you talk to him, you might need to turn your rotors, or replace if badly worn, and I would replace brake pads at the same time. If it comes to replacing brake pads and turning rotors, while you're under there take a look at the caliper pistons to make sure there's no cracks or pieces missing. For in the future this will cause the piston to seize up, then you just have to do it all over again. Hope this helps!

A/C Guy - Member

It might be radial pull. Try swapping the front tires left to right and see if this changes any thing.

If the vibration or shimmy is below 25mph it is a seperated tire, 30-75 mph it is wheel balance but this will not make the vehicle pull.

Mackey - Member

I think A/Cguy nailed it.

Sounds like a bad tire. Yes, a bad tire can cause a pull and shimmy from minimal to serious.

What kind of car and year is this, how many miles on it and on the tires?

What kind a driving do you do, city or suburbs?

It could also be a bent rim.

Does the car sway back and fourth below 10 miles an hour?

kspencerjr - Member

Seized caliper and warped rotor

I had the SAME problem back in January - Mine would pull (And shake, vibrate the rust off, skip my CD's, etc) - With anything over 45 mph.....As soon as I got my front brakes and rotors replaced, it stopped - So I know how you feel (I noticed someone suggested it earlier, but I really didn't read the rest - BAD ME!). Give it a shot, and see how it goes.

Oh - It's a dead give away if it seems sluggish on mileage and overall power, especially if it's rear wheel, like mine. Almost like you're towing something...