Pickup trucks are great for hauling stuff or just getting you from A to B, but when you start feeling like the truck is drifting or pulling to the right, it can be a frustrating experience. There are several things that could be causing this but most fo the time it is not too critical but more of an annoying thing than anything else.
A pickup truck can be pulling to the right if you have uneven tire pressure, misaligned wheels, bad wheel bearings, or complications in the brake system. Different components of the suspension can also break down, causing the car to pull to the left or right.
There are several complications that can negatively affect your truck’s steering. From worn brake pads to stuck calipers, the rest of this article will walk you through why your car pulls to the right.
Diagnosing the Issue
Figuring out what’s wrong with your truck is a lot easier if you get some diagnostic data on when and to what degree your truck pulls right. For example, if your truck seems to have a permanent rightward tilt, you’re likely looking at an issue with the tire pressure, suspension system, or wheel bearings.
If, on the other hand, the issue only occurs when you’re braking, the issue is likely with your braking system. Lastly, if the problem happens when you’re trying to accelerate, it’s possible you have an issue with the torque steering.
Pay particular attention to the sounds of the vehicle when the issue is happening? Does the pickup shudder when it’s pulling right? Is it lurching or leaning? Is there any sound at all?
All of these questions are useful to ask when you’re trying to rectify an issue with your pickup’s steering.
Tire pressure is important for your pickup to operate smoothly on both wheels. If one or several of your tires are underinflated, it can cause the affected tires to be lower down than the rest.
If your truck is leaning right, then the odds are that if tire pressure is your issue, the front and back tires on the right side of your truck are underinflated.
To check your tire pressure you will either need to get your self a tire pressure tester, which are very cheap at any store or a gas station. The other option is to drive to a gas station that has a tire inflating machine available. These machines will usually have a pressure indicator so you can use that.
Most trucks require from 32 to 35 PSI of air pressure in the tires. Add air to the tires so it is same in all 4 tires and this should solve this issue, if it was pulling to the right due to low pressure in the tires. Otherwise, continue down this list.
Sometimes, it just takes some time to wear in tires after you’ve just had them rotated. After all, the goal is to even out the wear and tear by changing their positions slightly.
If the pull is extremely slight, it might be worth trying to wear in the new tires, but if the issue persists, consider going back to your mechanic for another look at your tires.
A car or truck can pull right when the wheel is incorrectly aligned. If you notice that one of your tires is wearing a lot faster than the others, it’s quite possible that your wheels are misaligned.
Also if you have hit a curb recently or had a fender bender, it is highly recommended to have a wheel alignment done to make sure your wheels are pointing straight.
Correcting this issue involves fixing the position of the suspension so that the wheel is correctly positioned to roll correctly.
If this is not resolved and you continue to drive with missaligned wheels, you will notice that your tires will wear unevenly and a lot faster than normal.
Bad Steering Linkage
Loose or weak tie rod ends can cause a car to pull to one side while you take a turn. As the condition gets worse, the effect will be a lot more pronounced, and you’ll start to notice your car shaking a lot more.
This is only generally true if you have an older vehicle, since newer ones use a rack-and-pinion system rather than a steering box.
Because the steering box is difficult to access from a home garage, it’s usually best to take your car in to be serviced if you suspect you’ve got an issue with your steering linkage.
Torque Steering Troubles
If your truck is pulling to the right when accelerating, a component in the torque system could be faulty or have too much play, such as a loose steering element, lower control arm bushing, motor mount, tie rods, or loose ball joint.
Because the issue can be with any one of these, the garage is your best bet for getting the issue fixed if your pickup is pulling right as you accelerate.
If your truck is misbehaving and pulling right as you brake, then you’re likely looking at an issue with the braking system. One of the most common causes of this issue is a stuck brake caliper. This can be fixed simply by replacing the appropriate part.
A collapsed brake hose can also cause the truck to pull to one side. If this is your issue, you’ll notice the car only pulling for a few seconds after you hit the brake and then go back to normal. If so, then you’ll need to replace the faulty collapsed brake hose.
Brake pads are another common cause of pulling to one side. Normally, the pads wear pretty evenly, but if you have uneven wear and tear, the pads will ‘pinch’ more on one side than the other, potentially causing your truck to lean in one direction as you brake.
Your suspension may be another possible culprit if your truck leans while you brake. A faulty lower control arm bushing can allow the control arm to move, allowing the car to pull to one side as you apply the brakes.
Wheel bearings are important in ensuring that the wheel rotates smoothly, and when a bearing gets loose or has too much play, the brake rotor can become misaligned, causing the brake pads to not make full contact with the rotor properly.
This essentially means that you’re braking harder on one side and softer on another, leading to a pulling sensation as you start to brake. As with all of these issues regarding a fault in the braking system, your best bet is to replace the affected part and test drive your truck to see if the issue is fixed or not.
There are plenty of issues that can arise with steering throughout the lifetime of a truck, but in order to diagnose the issue, you’ll have to do a detective work to see when the issue occurs.
Once you’ve found the problem, determine what the best course of action is and whether you’re able to fix the issue yourself or need to take it in to a repair shop.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.