Are you a bad enough dude to diagnose this steering problem?

My '94 Corolla pulls to the right. I’ve consulted the Haynes manual, which basically says “go jump in a lake on the way to a mechanic” and I’ve Googled to no avail. I keep finding answers that almost, but not quite, describe the situation my car’s having.

The car pulls to the right with or without the brakes being applied. The steering wheel is aligned correctly with the wheels in that if I hold it dead center, the car goes straight. If I let it go, the steering wheel and the car both immediately lean to the right.

It’s been doing this for years, and my arm is getting tired. The tires show no indications of uneven or abnormal wear, so I don’t see how it could be an alignment problem unless the toe of both wheels is equally and oppositely out of whack. A friend of mine suggested I have a dragging front brake but I would expect uneven pad wear and there isn’t any.

Any ideas?

Check your tire pressure.

Are you driving on roads that have a higher crown than normal?

And, check your tire pressure.

Bent steering arm, maybe, but I would expect that would show up in the alignment.

Sometimes pull can be caused by a tire. Easy enough to check by rotating, but rather unlikely since it’s been going on for years - surely the same tires haven’t been in the same place for that long.

Misalignment is a possibility. While incorrect toe or camber will cause uneven wear, incorrect caster will not. Since it’s not an adjustable angle on your car, if it’s off it indicates a worn or bent part.

Another consideration is that roads are crowned (high in the center) to facilitate rain runoff. A car in perfectly even alignment will thus drift to the right as it follows the road’s slope down to the right side. Savvy mechanics usually adjust alignment so as to have an inherent slight pull to the left to compensate for this.

Could it be the rim if not the tire?

I’m not a dude, but my car is 21 this year! Had the same problem and it was the rim.

Wheeljack: Nope, but I am a bad enough dude to thoroughly enjoy the obscure reference. :slight_smile:

Really bad bearing,CV joint, tire or brakes. Jack up the front end and see if the wheels spin freely.

Thanks for the replies. It looks like it could be a number of expensive things. I doubt it’s the tires or the rim because the tires have been rotated and changed since I bought the car. It’s been doing it the whole time I’ve owned it.

The CVs have also been replaced. I’ll check on those bearings; holy moly, that doesn’t look like a fun repair. It never occurred to me that it might actually be the road. I’ll have to pay close attention as I drive around and see if there’s anywhere I can relax my arm.

Thanks again.

A large enough empty parking lot may do. Go across it in one direction, then retrace that path in the opposite direction. That’s probably as close to flat as you’ll get, unless you have access to a runway at an abandoned airport. Alternatively, the left lane of a divided highway should be on the left side of the crown.

Is the car equipped with stock size rims/tires? If not, skip the rest of this post!

Generally, the wider the tires get in relative to their height, the more they are gonna pull in reaction to the shape/condition of the road surface.

For example, very low profile 40 series tires om 19" rims are going to want to pull to the left on a two lane highway when in the left lane (left side of the road crown) and will want to pull to the right on the right side of a two lane highway (right of the road crown). And it just isn’t that the tires will feel like the ‘want to’ pull, but you will feel it in your arms. Take a more normal and blandly equipped Toyota Camry, and you might never even recognize the issue.

Oh man, I just realized it was a reference to something!
So maybe your tire was kidnapped by ninjas?

Probably a malformed radial tire. This is know as radial pull.

See here: