Caravan pulling to the right

My girlfriend hit a cow head on with her 2006 caravan around 6months ago. The van was repaired, the cow wasn’t as lucky. But every since the repair the van pulls hard to the right at any speed.

She had two alignments done with no correction; never following up for some reason with the mechanic. I just had it aligned and still had the same issue. I’m currently arranging for the vehicle to go back to the shop. (I can’t believe I didn’t have them test drive it) The alignment according the mechanic idicated that it was off slightly but he suggested that the tires were severly worn and could play into the pulling. He is 100% correct in that the tires are worn.

My concern is that the girlfriend wants new snow tires and I’m afraid to have her order new ones on without the steering issue being corrected. Considering how her current tires look.

I read that I should swap the front tires to see if the direction changes if at all. Is there anything else to look for personally or to suggest with my mechanic?

Why wouldn’t a alignment pick up the severe pulling in the steering? Did the mechanic do a thorough job. I’m thinking not.



My girlfriend hit a cow head on with her 2006 caravan around 6months ago.

And I thought Moose were bad enough to hit.

You may need to take this to a shop that specializes in alignments or Frame alignments. I suspect the frame is out of alignment.

If the tires are worn then they can play a role in how it drives. Have you tried switching tires???

There’s little point in wondering until you do swap the tires. A tire problem can easily do this. I had it happen once with a brand new tire.

It might also be time to take it to a body shop to check out unaddressed damage from the cow incident.

Mike and Cigroller, I appreciate the insight. I’ll swap out the tires for sure and get back with you. I guess that cow rolled right up the hood on her windshield. Got to give credit to Dodge for making a good window. Thanks again.

Swap the tires left to right.

If the pull goes the other duirection, then the problem is 100% the tires.

If the pull is unchnged, then the problem is 100% the alignment.

If the pull disappears or changes except for a complete reversal, then both the tires and the vehicle alignment are the problem.

Once you have conducted that test, you’ll know what to work on.

. I guess that cow rolled right up the hood on her windshield. Got to give credit to Dodge for making a good window.

For the record…Dodge doesn’t make windows…That’s all farmed out…Same with all other manufacturers.

With the worn tires you state the vehicle has it’s entirely possible that tire wear could be causing a pull. Even some brand new tires may have this characteristic and have to be swapped side to side.

If she got a printout on the alignment you might look over the camber and caster readings. What you would be looking for is a moderate to substantial difference in the left front compared to the right front.
Variations in one or both of those specifications can cause a vehicle to pull.

OK thanks again for the feedback. 1st thing I did was check the ware on all 4 tires again. They were all wore out on the right side of the tire, hence the pull to the right hand side I’m assuming. The ware was considerable on the right hand side of all the tires but the left side of those tires looked pristine. 2nd thing I did was swap the front tires only(so now the ware was on the left side of the tire in the front end and the right side ware was on the back tires) and took it for test drive. This seemed to offset the pulling right and gave a better steering experience although not great. There was slight pulling to the left and a little choppy/tight while turning.

I did not swap the rear tires; assuming I’ll just create a hard left turning experience as opposed to a right pulling van. I’m fairly convinced that it is a tire issue but I’m curious to what you think about the reason for the right side ware on all 4 tires? My concern still lies in the fact that after two alignments the tires wore considerably. Assuming my girlfriends recollection is accurate. Maybe the tires were shot prior to the accident…

OK4450 - I’ll get the alignment readings shortly.
CapriRacer - my assumption is that if I changed out the rear tires as well I’d just completely pull to the left. I can swap out the rear just to make sure. Let me know what you think.

I’m Guessing That The Reason All Tires Are Worn On The Right Side Is Because The All Had A Turn At The Location(s) That Was Causing Improper Wear. That Useful Information Is Now Lost. The Tires Can No Longer Be “Read” Because They Have Been Rotatated In The Past.

It could have been the front that was wearing the tires or it could have been the rear or both. The tires could have been wearing on the inside or outside on a particular axle or both. Not paying attention to this when tires are rotated makes it anybody’s guess.

I generally don’t rotate tires.

Manufacturers have measurements for their vehicles, sometimes found in good factory service manuals. There are points that can be used to measure diagonally from r/f to l/r and l/f to r/r to make sure the suspension is in there straight, but I doubt this is necssary.

Center punching a cow 6 months ago would almost certainly “total” a 5 or 6 year old Caravan if it caused major injury to suspension mounting components, especially if it was displaced upwards onto the windshield and not thrown down the highway in front. However. the inner fenders (where suspension parts attach) could have been “swayed” by a good center hit - “ooof - moo”. Without seeing the estimate or repair order from the body shop, it’s hard to say. I wonder if there was any “unibody” staightening/aligning labor there. Hitting cows seldom helps keep a vehicle straight.


How bad was the damage? The body on the Caravan IS the frame, and if that was bent substatially enough to prevent aligning the vehicle or was twisted, it might never be right again.

Large body shops have body alignment machines (tables) that can measuer the accuracy of the body and tell if it’s correct. If it’s warped, the best you might be able to do is compensate to the extent possible. If ont, then you’ll need to look for other damage that might still be hidingunder the vehicle, such as perhaps a bent part.


My experience is that pull is all about the front tires. The rears hardly matter.

So based on your test, you have both a tire and an alignment problem. Your best course of action is to get the tires replaced first, then do an alignment. If you still have a pull, swap the front tires again to see if the new tires are helpful. Don’t forget that higly crowned roads will cause a pull. You need to test on a road that is reasonably flat across the lane.