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99 Buick steering

99 Buick, 170xxx miles. Pulled to the right, so much so that I had to steer to the left to go straight. After getting a 4 wheel alignment, it drives straight and I can’t feel it pull while holding the wheel, but if you let go of the wheel it veers to the right. Any ideas what I should check? Is is possible the tires are causing this?

Make sure your brakes are all releasing.

It is possible that the tires are causing it. It may also be the crown of the roadway. A two lane roadway is high in the center so that rainwater will drain. If you drive in the left lane on a four lane road, which should also be crowned, will it eventually veer toward the median? If so, you don’t really have a problem.

I just replaced the front brakes, so I don’t think that would be it. Also it veers to the right regardless of which side of the road I’m on, so I guess the most likely thing is the tires, which I know need replaced. I reckon I’m going to get under it and grease everything and then bring it in for tires and see what happens.

You could have a partially collapsed brake hose. You’d probably not be able to tell by looking at it.

The problem might be with a leaking spool valve seal in the rack and pinion assembly. The spool valve directs the hydraulic pressure from the power steering pump to the pistons in the rack depending on which direction the steering wheel is turned.

To check for this raise the front tires off the ground. With the tires and steering wheel pointing straight, start the engine. If the steering wheel turns by itself one of the seals on the spool valve is leaking.

Tester

“I just replaced the front brakes, so I don’t think that would be it.”

I’m not saying that it’s your problem in this case, but that is the most common time to develop a sticking/dragging brake caliper. When the pistons are retraced to make room for the new pads they will sometimes start to stick and drag. The fix is new/remanufactured calipers.

I have an infrared non-contact themometer that I can “shoot” my rotors with and detect a hot one if the brakes are dragging.

CSA

There are a lot of possible causes including those mentioned by the above respondants and a broken tie rod, a failing ball joint (which can allow that wheel to splay out and “scrub” down the road, a seizing bearing, and others. . And all of them could cause catastrophic failure and a serious accident.

I wmphatically urge you to tow NOT DRIVE this vehicle to a qualified shop to get the problem diagnosed and repaired. Consider this vehicle UNSAFE at this time.

I think the tires probably just took a set from it being unaligned so badly. I’ve had this happen before. You can do a quick rotate of the tires to be sure.

I appreciate all the input here. I know there is not a problem with the wheel bearing/tie rods/ball joints/etc. as I know how to check and replace those. I’m betting on tires since that’s the only thing I can find that needs replaced. I will do as Tester suggested though just to see what happens. There are lots of things regarding brakes that could go wrong, but I’m convinced that isn’t the problem. It happened before I ever touched the brakes and I found out that the person I bought it from drove the car on the same set of tires currently on the car for 40,000 miles with it pulling the whole time.

Thanks again for all the input here. I’ll post back after I figure out what the problem is.

Just wanted to post back that it was the tires. After a new set, it rides like a new car and goes in a straight line when I let go of the wheel. Thanks again!

Been There, Done That. I Had Brand New Tire(s) Once That Steered My Car Until The Tire Dealer Agreed To Replace Them. I Wouldn’t Have Believed It If I Hadn’t Seen It For Myself.
CSA