When you’re driving along, your steering wheel should always remain straight.
Proper driving posture states that you should have your arms slightly bent, with your hands at the 3 and 9 o’clock position for maximum control.
When you hold the steering wheel in such a manner, it should not buck or turn by itself.
However, sometimes you encounter errant behaviour from your steering wheel.
It may pull to the left or right without any input from the driver.
This behaviour might not be very noticeable, so you need to be alert for any phantom steering inputs, especially along a straight road.
You can check how straight your steering is by doing the following:
- Drive to a large, empty carpark or road, ie a heavy-vehicle parking space.
- Ensure your surroundings are free of traffic, human or automotive.
- With your hands near the steering wheel ready to take control, gently move off.
- If your steering wheel remains straight and true, everything is ok.
- If your steering begins to turn all on its own, then you might have a problem.
What are some of the causes?
- Uneven tyre pressure. This is the most common cause of your wheel pulling to one side. Lower pressure on one side means the car’s height is lower on one side.
- Brake issues, ie a stuck calliper. If one of your brake callipers is sticking, it causes the tyre on that side to slow down and pull your car to that side. Have this repaired immediately as good brakes are critical to safe driving.
- Misaligned wheels. If you’ve checked your tyre pressures and are certain the brakes aren’t the issue, then it could be a wheel alignment issue. If it is indeed a problem with the wheel alignment, look out for other telltale signs like uneven tyre wear and squealing tyres to indicate it is so.