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Car pulls to left

edited December 2011 in Repair and Maintenance
My car has a left front pulling issue.

I have a 2003 Forester with 74,000 miles. At 55,000 (18 months ago) I replaced the Kumho tires with Michelin Primacy MXV4 tires and immediately had an issue where over 50-60 mph the car slightly pulls to the left under all road conditions except extreme right lane well crowned. Previously it always tracked straight, though seemingly less accurately than with the newer tires.

I've had it aligned 3 times by two different shops and they always find some small out of align issue they correct and say the problem should be better. One of them the Subaru dealer. Nobody sees a suspension issue. The tires have been rotated at least 4 times. No unusual wear. Wearing nicely. But over 50-60, while slight, it is so annoying I would love to deal with this nuisance issue which sometimes puts me out of my lane. And always to the left. I've checked tire pressure and have even over-compensated by raising the front left pressure to rid the issue but it won't quite go away.

Any suggestions??.....Frustrated (I edited this - the 65,000 miles was a typo - the car has 74,000 miles on it)
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Comments

  • There's a simple test: Rotated the front tires side to side.

    If the pull completely changes direction, the problem is 1`00% tires.

    If the problem doesn't chnage at all, the problem is 100% the vehicle.

    If the pull changes (other than completely changes direction), especially if it disappears, then the problem is both tires and vehicle.

    *************************************************

    From what you have said, the problem is in the vehicle and it's probably something other than alignment - like a dragging brake.
  • If the problem is always when u drive faster then maybe you are driving in the left lane more and it's the road.
  • One would think that in all of this that someone, at some point, would have thought of the tire bias issue that CapriRacer refers to; all assuming that these tire rotations have consisted of front to back only..
    That kind of falls into the Basic Alignment Problems 101 category.
  • If in the end, you find that your tires are not the problem and the front and rear wheel sets are each aligned correctly, then it is possible that the thrust alignment needs adjustment. That is the alignment of the rear wheels relative to the front wheels (or vice-versa). I can't explain how the vehicle drove well with your old tires unless you got an alignment along with the new tires that caused a thrust alignment issue or revealed a thrust misalignment that was masking another problem such as unequal front wheel caster. Unequal front wheel caster has a profound effect on steering pull but will not cause undue tire wear.
  • edited December 2011
    OK - So I went back to Discount Tires and instead of them doing Subaru's AWD procedure of crossing tires (front left and back right swapped and ditto), we went left to right front and back, as this and other discussion groups all suggested. And guess what - the problem went away and went maybe slightly the other way - but very very slightly. ANd it was amazing to not have a the pull. So here we are, 18,000 or so miles later, Michelin authorized changing tires with 35% tread gone on "60,000 mile tires" - so I paid 35% plus mounting and it was bitter sweet. But I didn't argue because frankly I still wasn't sure and felt all were doing me a good deed favor. Till I got the the new Primacies on the road. WOW!!!!!!!!!!! These f_---kers are AMAZING!!! I had no idea. Even the steering, which was off for 18 months, is centered again. And utterly peaceful. And dead center stable for the first time! Like all the reviewers screamed about! The Forester feels like a brute in the steering wheel. In other words, all the wonderful things I read about those tires, and never ever experienced since the other set was new, was here - I am speechless - these are fantastic tires and I thought (and didn't mention it in the thread here because I thought my car was just not up to this excellent and responsive behavior) that I have missed out all this time.

    And how the bittersweet. I should not have paid a thing! How many times did I go out of lane this last 18 months? Maybe 35% wear was excessive due to the pulling! I paid for two unnecessary alignments!

    But now I LOVE how the Forester drives and it is a revelation and the tires really DO make a difference - never really noticed it like this before.

    So now I'm going to go to corporate - Discount to get the mounting fees back, and Michelin to challenge the pro-rate they authorized due to all the frustration, wasted time and money, near accidents. Wish me luck!
  • First, the swapping of the tires was a test - and Discount Tire only dealt with part of the results. You still have an alignment issue that will likely come back over time.

    YOU NEED TO GET THAT FIXED!!

    Find an alignment shop that agrees with the following: The published alignment tolerances are too wide. In order to assure good tire wear, the aligment needs to be within the inner half of the published range.

    If a propsed aligment shop disagrees, turn around and walk away. Keep looking until you find one!
  • "So I went back to Discount Tires and instead of them doing Subaru's AWD procedure of crossing tires (front left and back right swapped and ditto), we went left to right front and back, as this and other discussion groups all suggested."

    My 2002 outback manual states that the tires should not cross sides. They are only rotated front to back. Not sure there is a "Subaru AWD procedure." Did you check your manual for this?

  • The vehicle usually doesn't dictate if the tires can be rotated from side to side..but the tires do. Subaru may come with directional tires and thus rotating them from side-to-side is NOT recommended.

  • Thanks for the alignment heads up. The Subaru Dealer did it (Performance Subaru) and I have the chart of the alignment done 2 months ago and it looks fairly close to center on all counts. Not dead on mind you. But mostly pretty close.
  • edited January 2012
    mtkoren,

    I think you don't understand about the alignment issue. At the time the tires were swapped around and the pull disappeared, you had both a tire issue AND an alignment issue. So unless the swap was conducted BEFORE the alignment, you still have an alignment issue - regardless of what the numbers say.
This discussion has been closed.