I recently purchased a set of Cooper P285/70R17 117T, Discoverer A/T3 tires from a locally trusted tire shop for my 2011 RAM Outdoorsman (4-wheel drive). They replaced a set of Goodyear Wrangler LT275/70OR 17C OWL ATs. The truck was not pulling to the right until after the Cooper tires were put on it I have taken it back to the tire shop FOUR times. The first time they replaced the two front tires. After the second and third time they said they adjusted the alignment. It seems to ride well for 20 or so miles before it starts pulling to the right again. About two weeks I took it back to them and they said they were “researching” the matter to determine if there is a problem with the tires. I have not heard anything. I am at wits end! Any advice out there?
How many miles on the RAM? You might have worn suspension parts. Do you off road with it? That will put more stress on the suspension than road driving.
Has anybody tried simply switching the right front and left front tires? If it still pulls to right it can’t be the tires. If it now pulls to the left it pretty much has to be the tires.
I have 54,000 miles on the RAM. No I do not take it off road. It has been babied. The tire shop has switched the tires and also replaced the tires.
I wonder if the old tires may have had a wear pattern such that your truck didn’t exhibit this tendency to pull to the right. The truck may be out of alignment just enough that this problem showed up with the new tires. You may want to get a second opinion at an independent alignment shop.
I agree with MY 2 Cents, try switching the two front tires side to side. I have had good luck fixing right pulls on a 1993 Caprice and a 2000 S10 Blazer with this technique as a last resort after alignments and tire rotations.
I would pay for another alignment at another shop. An alignment is as only as good as the tech doing it and the equipment he’s using. Also, have them check over the front end for any worn or damaged parts.
This is very important! Did you have the shop do an alignment when you first bought the tires?
No. They did not do an alignment when I bought the tires. They said I did not need it.
Measure the circumference of all the tires. The problem could be in the rear and they are just looking in the wrong place.
The fact that this occurs after 20 miles gives me another thought, maybe you have a brake that is dragging, possibly a sticking caliper. The drag would increase after a few miles and the pulling would be more noticeable.
Try switching the rear wheels side to side too. A rear tire with an internal problem causing anomalous rolling resistance could cause pulling too, and an internal problem could manifest itself more emphatically after the tire has been driven on if the problem is generating internal heat as it rolls.
Post back with the results.
Re: Keith’s comment on a dragging brake, this is a good possibility and could easily be found by simply checking the temperature of each disc (or center of the wheel) using an infrared thermometer or by CAREFULLY (it can get pretty hot) touching each wheel… if one is much hotter than its opposite wheel, that’s a good clue that you might have a dragging pad.
If it was the tires, it seems like if you switched all four, so the two on the right were now on the left, and visa versa, that if the tires were the problem, after the switch it would then pull to the left. Does it? Or does the truck continue to pull to the right after the switch?
Does the pull to the right occur mostly when braking? If so an old and experienced front end man might look closely at the trailing arm on the right lower control arm. If the bushings on that control arm are weak the control arm will be allowed to shift rearward, especially when braking, and result in that wheel moving to a negative camber and pulling even though when resting on the alignement rack it is within specification.
And a well worn suspension bushing that might have survived another 50,000 miles otherwise might have become severely weakened when the vehicle was jacked up to replace the tire. With the truck raised the suspension is stretched to its lower limits. Often similar problems show up soon after tire replacement or brake work.
I’m not a fan of the eyeball method of checking wheel alignment. The vehicle was raised up on a lift and it’s possible that movement in the suspension and/or stance of the vehicle changed a bit due to suspension drop.
My vote would be to have an alignment done and special attention paid to camber and caster specifications.
It baffles me that this place replaces and swaps tires ad nauseum rather than throw it on the alignment rack for a looksee and weed that issue out.
Alignment is considerably more precise than an “eyeball inspection” @ok. But an understanding of suspension geometry and chassis architecture will give an alignment mechanic the insight to have someone hold the brake pedal firmly while the truck is pushed forward with significant force to check for the wheels shifting which is a common problem on vehicles. And while Ford Twin-I beams were the most common with such a problem the Dodge trucks ran a close second with me.
Thanks to all for the comments! The pulling to the right occurs while driving and not while hitting the brakes. The tire shop has checked, rechecked and tinkered with the alignment on all three returns. I am thinking it could be a problem with the right front brake or the suspension. I will probably take it to a Dodge dealership with these forum comments. I would appreciate any additional comments!
OP: not sure if you have answered this question, it is important:
IF you switch tires Left and Right, does it still pull in the same direction?
That is, two front tires swapped, and two rear tires swapped.
This will definitely tell you if it is a tire problem or a suspension/brake problem.
This is not rocket science. Any competent mechanic can check the suspension and brake components visually.
I can see why the tire shop did not recommend an alignment when you first purchased the tires. You were not having any issues then and an inspection of you old tires probably did not indicate any abnormal wear patterns. This, to me, gives them positive credibility. Most tire shops want to sell you an alignment whether you need it or not.
The problem starts immediately after the tire purchase so one of two things happened, one tire has a defect and it could be on the rear. The rear tires can steer a vehicle just like the front, but are often overlooked. One way to tell is to have someone follow you and see if the truck is tracking straight or if it is pointed in a slightly different direction than it is going in. Some people call this crabbing or dog trotting. It looks like a airplane landing in a cross wind. Bill Russell also gave you good advice and you should try it, but do one end at a time, if you do all four at once, you won’t narrow down to the right tire.
If it is not a tire, then it could be that something was damaged when the truck was put on the lift. For this, the best bet would be an independent mechanic that does not sell tires but does suspension repairs. Usually damage like that is pretty visible as metal is bent and that leaves a scar.
BTW, a sticking caliper does not affect the brakes when they are applied, only after you take your foot off the pedal. In fact, if it is pulling a little while driving and it stops pulling when you apply the brakes moderately, that is a clue to a brake problem.
Again, I appreciate all the good insight and advice!
Bill Russell: According to the tire shop they switched tires left to right and every which way. It still pulls to the right.
Keith: Not sure if the tire shop tried looking for crabbing. I will ask them.
You will need to look for crabbing by either following your vehicle in another vehicle or having someone else following you. It can’t be done in the shop.