Why is my Car Drifting and Pulling Irvine, CA | Norm Reeves VW

Does your car pull to one side despite the fact that you’re steering straight? Does it only happen when you press the brakes or go over a speed bump? This condition is known as steering pull, and it has a wide variety of causes.

At Norm Reeves Volkswagen Superstore in Irvine, our automotive service technicians in our Volkswagen service department have seen their fair share of steering problems. Years of experience allows them to quickly diagnose your car’s specific condition and correct it relatively easily.

To help you better understand what may be causing the issue, let’s look at some of the different types of steering pull that exist. (Note: Your car is a highly sophisticated piece of machinery. Because of that, you may not be familiar with some of the terms and components found in this article. Explaining each component would take an extremely long time, so definitions will be kept brief.)

Steady Pull

As the name implies, a steady pull is characterized by constant drifting to one side. Typically the steering wheel will need to be turned slightly in order for you to steer straight.

Steady pull could be a result of an uneven camber or caster, which is usually caused by a bent strut, spindle, or misplaced strut tower. However, steering pull can also be caused by a faulty brake system, low tire pressure, and uneven tire wear.

Memory Steer

An alignment issue could cause the steering wheel to return to a position other than true center after turning. Memory steer, as it’s called, causes the car to pull or drift to one side.

This could also be a result of an unbalanced power assist system. In this scenario, hydraulic pressure that’s not being distributed evenly causes an incorrect steer.

Off-Center Steering Wheel

If your car is suffering from memory steer or steady pull, you may have an off-center or crooked steering wheel.

Sometimes, however, an off-center steering wheel may not cause any pull at all. In this situation, the crooked steering wheel could be the result of a bent steering arm or a problem with the steering linkage.

Steering Wander

With the previous conditions, the car was typically drifting or pulling to one side, favoring the left or right. Steering wander, however, is when the car seems to drift back and forth.

This could be caused by extremely low tire pressure or an extreme toe misalignment in addition to issues with caster, wheel bearings, or possibly worn steering components.

Bump Steer

If the steering issue occurs only when you drive over a bump, the

This issue with the toe can be the result of a twisted frame or other structural damage in addition to bent steering arms or a steering rack that’s not level.n the sudden jerk could be bump steer. This happens because of unequal toe changes when the car goes over the hump.

Torque Steer

Torque steer occurs during quick acceleration. This happens mostly in front-wheel-drive cars that have different driveshaft lengths.

Because this kind of pull is a result of vehicle design, it’s not something that can be fixed or repaired. However, loose or broken control arm bushings, engine mounts, tie rod ends, or tie rod sockets could make torque steer worse, so you should still have the car inspected to ensure that all of the components are in good working condition.

At Norm Reeves Volkswagen, we can find what’s causing your car to pull or drift and make the appropriate repairs for you. For more information on auto repairs, see our Vehicle Maintenance FAQs Page.

Call our service department at (949) 382-7050 and schedule an appointment today.