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Car pulling to the right

I just had my tires rotated & balanced in October, afterward my car started pulling to the right. Last April or May (2009) I slid on some black ice & had to have my car realigned.I called the dealership & told them about this. They said that it could be the tire pressure. But since they did a rotate & balance then the air was removed, weights put on, tires put back on the rims, etc, because of course you guys have done this a million times. The pulling only started after the tires were balanced & rotated. I asked them if they could just check & make sure the balance is correct, but she said no if it wasn’t the tire pressure then the car would need an alignment, which was done less than a year ago. I think they are trying to pull one over on me because I’m a female, a female who has taken an auto mechanics class, & knows about balancing & rotating tires.

Balance should not be a issue if there is no vibration at speed and only pulling. How many miles on the tires and car ? Is this a dealer ? I really don’t know why sliding w/o a collision would cause a pull. There are other causes, like brake drag, uneven wear. It’s really hard to say. Do you know the tire pressure is right, did you check that yourself ?

Then maybe neither you or the shop is familiar with tire bias. Balancing will not cause a pull but rotation can because usually the rears are rotated to the front and this is why the pull now exists.

Swap the 2 fronts side to side and see if the problem goes away.

You state that you slid on black ice but did not say if you slid into something and you also did not state who did the alignment. If the alignment was done by someone other than the dealer you’re referring to then why should they give any credence to claim of an alignment or even how well it was done.

The possibilities that come to my mind are

  1. air pressure (don’t trust their word, check it yourself)
  2. a rotationally oriented tire having been put on a wheel backwards
  3. alignment
  4. a defective tire

But I’m unclear on something. Why did they deflate the tires, remove them from the rims, reinstall them and rebalance them? Were they indexing the tires? Do the tires have red, blue, or yellow dots on the sidewalls?

Id the wear on each tire even and without anomolies?

One other idea strikes me. Jack up each corner of the car and spin the wheel by hand. That’ll either eliminate the possibility of a dragging brake or failing bearing or find it if there is one.

There is a tire property called “conicity” - root word “cone”. It is a way of describing the “pull” characterisitcs of a tire. Conicity has both a value and a direction.

Swap the front tires left to right.

If the pull changes direction, but not magnitude, then it’s the tires - conicity.

If the pull doen’t change it’s the alignment.

If the pull disappears or changes magnitude (and perhaps direction, such as strong right to weak left), then it’s both tires and alignment.

I’m guessing the problem is the tires, but the problem is that conicity can be worn into a tire, so tire manufacturers will only do a warranty on a tire for pull if it is substantially new. They generally use 1 year or the first 2/32nds of wear as a limit. Since your problem started almost a year ago, the tire warranty on pull has expired.

So if the above test points to tires, then you’ll have to buy new ones.

I have a 93 Caprice that had a severe pull to the right, two alignments and a front to back rotation made no difference. Out of desperation I switched the tires side to side and the pull disappeared. I got six years out of those tires with no more pull.

When those tires were replaced, the Caprice had a mild pull to the right. A side to side rotation took care of that also.

Ed B.