I have a 2002 Mazda Protege DX. I recently had a flat on the front passenger side. The tire was worn and the shop replaced both front tires, rotated them to the back and the ones that were in the rear to the front. So the new tires are on the rear and the the old tires are in the front. When we got the car back it started pulling pretty drastically to the right and on the highway has a tendency to dart (it was not like this when we brought it in). We took it back and they said that it was due to uneven ware on the front and bad bushings. Is this true? And, why would it be fine one evening and start to pull so drastically the next day?
Have them put the new tires on the front and return the old tires to the rear. If the pull is gone there’s something wrong with the old tires.
If the front tires are old enough, 2 new tires and an alignment will probably be the most cost effective.
If the pull wasn’t there before the shop worked on it, the problem is in the tires they rotated to the front. If they refuse to move the new ones to the front (some places will not do this, citing safety reasons relating to possible spinning out during evasive maneuvers), have them switch the front ones side to side. There is a condition known as radial tire pull that can often be “canceled out” by switching the tires side to side. It’s worth a try.
As mark9207 stated, try switching the front tires side to side. It fixed a severe pull to the right on a 93 Chevrolet Caprice (two alignments and a front to back rotation made no difference) and a moderate pull on a 2000 Blazer.
I recommend this because it has worked for me numerous times on customer’s cars.
The car is 10 years old with ? miles and apparently had and has badly worn tires.
I would suggest the front suspension be thoroughly checked to make sure those tires were not worn due to something that can kill you; as in ball joints.
Do read OK4450’s response. It can save you money in the long run.
Simple test: Swap the front tires side to side.
If the pull completely changes direction, it’s 100% the tires.
If the pull doesn’t change at all, then it’s 100% in the vehicle, usually alignment, but it’s possible that it’s a dragging brake.
If the pull disappears or changes – other than completely changing direction - it’s both the tires and the vehicle.
Thank you all for your suggestions…based upon what you all are saying the tire place I took the car too, may well be trying to buy a new boat on me. Based upon your suggestions on how to fix it, I am going to take it to my main mechanic, have him replace the tires (probably should be done anyway based upon wear) and check the car out for safety at 106k miles it should be checked at least every couple of years. Thank you, this is a great community!