2004 Camry steering wheel veers left despite alignment and tire rotation

I have a 2004 Toyota Camry that the steering wheel veers to the left while driving (not all the time) I have tried
an alignment and a tire rotation and still have the problem. Has anyone else had the same

P.S. Don’t veer like my brother

If your tires developed uneven wear patterns as a result of the alignment being “off” and/or lack of rotations for an extended period of time, it is very possible that you will never be able to drive it w/o veering. Once bad wear patterns are worn into the tread, nothing will un-do them.

You were right to have the alignment and rotation done, but they will not un-do existing damage, and it is very possible that you will have to live with this problem until you are ready to replace the tires.

I had the same problem with a 1993 Caprice, after a tire rotation and 2 alignments the car still pulled hard to the right. The tires were fairly new (2 years) with plenty of tread and even wear. Out of desperation I switched the two front tires side to side and the car tracked straight after that.

I’ve also done this with two other cars to fix a mild pull to the right (2000 Blazer and 2003 Taurus).

Ed B.

Do you mean that you have to hold the steering wheel off center in order to go in a straight line or do you mean that with the steering wheel centered, you do go in a straight line but if you relax your grip, the steering wheel will rotate to the left and take the car with it?

If the steering wheel is off center, then the alignment place did not do their job very well. The steering wheel should be centered as part of the alignment.

If the cars tries to steer itself to the left all the time, there are a number of causes. It can be the camber alignment. On many cars, the camber is not adjustable and a misalignment is due to a bent part. You will need a good front end mechanic to find this. Could be a bent control arm or bent strut.

The rear alignment could also cause the car to drift. On most cars, this is also not adjustable and is caused by a bent part. One quick check is to have someone follow you and see if the car is driving in a dogleg or crab position, that is where the rear end is offset from the front a little bit. If it is, that is a rear end alignment, but even if it is running true, there could still be an issue back there causing the drift.

If the put the rear tires on the front when they did the alignment, that pretty much eliminates the tire wear as the problem.

If it does not do it all the time I would inspect the suspension for worn components, control arm bushings on this car are known for wearing out. The rear toe is adjustable and should have been checked during the alignment. You may also want to have the balance checked on a Hunter road force balancer. This machine has the ability to check the tires and determine if they are the source of your pulling issue. Being you said it does not do it consistently I would lean towards suspension issues or road conditions. Does the car always pull in the same areas or does it change?

What happens to the pull when you rotate just the two front tires (left to right, and right to left)?

Does the pull stay the same, or does it change direction that it pulls?

Are you the original owner?

This isn’t a tire or an alignment situation. Something else is going on as the problem is intermittent.

I’m voting for a worn ball joint.

Does braking have any effect? I’m wondering if there’s a pad dragging (caliper sticking).
You can check for this by checking the temperature of the wheels (or the discs themselves if you have an infrared thermometer and spoked wheels).

What needs to be known is what keith referred to; whether the car itself veers to the left or whether or not the car drives straight but the steering wheel is off-center. The latter can vary based on road crown.
Huge difference in the causes of either one.

If it’s just a matter of the steering wheel off-center then that’s easily resolved by adjusting the toe and should be part of the alignment.

Point well made.
I hope Larry comes back…

Is it possible the reason it doesn’t do this all the time is because sometimes there are more than one person riding in the car? Unequal weight distribution might be part of the reason, or at least a clue to what’s going on.

If OP experiments switching the tires side to side, remember that some types of tires this isn’t recommended and could be unsafe, as they have a designed-in or worn-in rotation direction.

That point about unidirectional tires is true, George, but for the purposes of checking a problem such as this it’ll do no harm, and the pulling changing sides would indicate a faulty tire, whereas if the problem stays the same it would indicate something other than the tire.

It would be important, however, to switch the tires back after a determination is made. Unidirectional tires are designed to expel water better in one direction (among other things) and leaving them rolling backwards might increase the chance of hydroplaning. In short, it’s perfectly okay and safe to swap unidirectional tires for diagnostic purposes. Just don’t ;;eave them on that way.

Regarding the wear, if one tire has abnormal wear causing pulling, the pulling should switch sides if the wheels are swapped. Again, swapping sides is a good diagnostic thing to do.

Disclaimer: there have actually been lengthy threads on the effects of unidirectional tires and their advantages, disadvantages, and whether they even make a real difference. I choose to go by what eth manufacturers say, but not everyone agrees. IMHO the debate is, however, not relevant to helping the OP solve his/her problem. UNLESS someone mounted a unidirectional tire backwards on one wheel… definitely worth checking for since it’s so free and easy.