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My car pulls to the left while driving

Discussion in 'Motoring Forum' started by rojroj, May 10, 2007.

  1. rojroj

    rojroj Guest

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    My Ford Focus pulled towards the left while driving straight (not braking) right after I bought it new.
    The Ford dealer tried various things, but couldn't sort it out.
    Ultimately they swapped over the 2 front wheels which sorted it out.
    I was a bit surprised at this. However, it worked fine for 5 years.

    Then I changed the tyres and had tracking done recently and the bloke swapped the wheels around inadvertently and since then I have the same problem back. I did point it out to him (at the time of fitting the tyres back), but he said that these tyres have directional arrows, so the wheels can't be swapped.

    My questions are :

    1. Could wheels really cause this problem ? I was unconvinced the 1st time, but this happened again.

    1. Is it risky/damaging to just swap them around and have the tyres rotating the wrong way ?

    2. Would it damage the tyres to have them taken out of the wheel and put back the right way (and then swap them back) ?


    Being a novice any suggestions / comments welcome.

    Thanks in advance.

    Rojroj
  2. C.Wolf

    C.Wolf Member

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    The tyres can be taken off and swapped over without any damage, they just have to be re balanced ( about £7 each ). However this almost certainly is not the problem as its the old tyre wear that made the car pull, not the wheels. The tracking probably needs re doing, as there is a tollerance for this . If yours is set near one or other end of this tollerance it will cause the car to pull one way.
    Hope this helps.
  3. Mylo

    Mylo Active Member

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    1. Could wheels really cause this problem ? I was unconvinced the 1st time, but this happened again. I doubt it very much

    1. Is it risky/damaging to just swap them around and have the tyres rotating the wrong way ?extremely, don't do it

    2. Would it damage the tyres to have them taken out of the wheel and put back the right way (and then swap them back) ?no, but it's pointless

    Did they do 4 wheel laser alignment or just the front tracking?

    I'd suspect that the camber is out or that you have a sticking brake on the right side of the car. Or the front and rear wheels may not be aligned.
  4. danaldinho7

    danaldinho7 New Member

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    it may be just a case of balancing that you might have knocked out if you've kirbed the car whilst parking or osmething
  5. Mylo

    Mylo Active Member

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    a kerbed wheel will wobble, it won't make the car pull to one side.

    The op said this happened after new tyres were fitted. The fitter would/should have mentioned if any of the wheels were buckled.
  6. rojroj

    rojroj Guest

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    Thanks for the replies.
    I'd rule out hitting the kerb as I had the same problem with the new car (1st week).
    The problem came back immediately after replacing the two front tyres and tracking (2 days back). I am not sure if the garage did the Front wheel tracking only by Laser (they put some clips with small red lights on all the 4 tyres though - excuse my ignorance). Again no kerbing since then.
  7. depot

    depot Member

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    Many years ago i had a ford escort that had a tyre changed after a puncture,
    it started to pull to the left,
    and i really do mean pull.

    Had the tracking checked all it was all ok, so swapped the two front tyres over
    it then pulled to the right, but only slightly.

    Then changed the back tyres with the front and it was fine
  8. England2Canada

    England2Canada Member

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    What do you expect mate, it's a ford focus staright out of dagenham :rotfl: You are not alone mate, ford here is losing money like crazy because no one is buying american, and the competition from GM.
  9. rojroj

    rojroj Guest

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    Mylo / Depot,

    Thanks for your input.
    I have spoken to the garage and planned to swap the wheels (after removing and putting the tyres back the right way round).
    Will that mess up the tracking that I got done after changing the tyres (when they swapped the wheels over). Do I need to get the tracking done again ?

    Regards
  10. Mylo

    Mylo Active Member

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    In basic terms, because that's all I know :laugh:

    it shouldn't do any harm at all. The tracking involves lengthening or shortening the bars that make the wheels point in the right direction. the actual wheels only hold the measuring equipment in place.
    Four wheel alignment lets the operator know if the front and rear of the car are tracking in the same direction and allow measurement for cast and camber (leaning in or out of wheels, I think)

    On cars like my old Pug 306 this can be quite tricky. The pug has a passive steering rear axle. Really not sure what that means, other than the rear can and does move slightly under hard cornering.
  11. Dom996

    Dom996 Member

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    When one tests the tracking through driving, is the same road used?

    The reason I ask is that some roads camber is so bad that the car will pull one way anyway. I find that, for instance, if the car is pulling left, find a quiet road and drive down the middle and also the wrong side of the road. Naturally this method can only offer accurate results if nothing is coming the other way. :rotfl:
  12. Mark-UK

    Mark-UK Guest

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    I would agree with the above comment by Dom.

    As a Ford Bodyshop technician I carry out steering geometry checks/adjustments almost on a daily basis.

    Before you even put the alignment equipment on the vehicle there are a couple of things that you need to ensure that are checked.

    Whenever I have to check/adjust a focus geometry I will always ensure that the rear and front subframes are aligned to the body.
    Tyre pressure's and equal size tyres are obvious,but can be,and have been overlooked.(In my experiance of having to rectify another garages work).

    On the Focus it is important that a four wheel alignment is carried out.
    The rear geometry is checked and adjusted prior to checking and adjusting the front axle geometry.
    It's possible that the rear is out of tolerance,and they have only checked/adjusted the front, and you are experiencing a Rear wheel steer problem,or it could just be that the steering wheel is mis-aligned,tricking you into thinking the car is pulling.
    Did the garage give you a print out of the results,providing of course that it was a computerised alingment?.

    Hope that helps you out,

    Mark.

    Just realised this is my first post.........Been lurking for ages.
  13. rojroj

    rojroj Guest

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    Well, I've swapped the 2 front tyres and yet to test it out thoroughly (felt a bit better though).
    I use the same strech of straight road on M4 to test it (on my way to work and back), but agreed that it doesn't rule out the camber towards the left.
    I'd rule out tyre size and pressure after the swap.
    No, they didn't give out any printout, but I think they did a laser 4-wheel tracking.
    I don't think the steering is mis-aligned, as I drive straight for at least 100 mtrs (without looking at the steering) and then leave it. It goes straight for about another 100 mtrs and then suddenly starts drifting left slightly (I can now almost predict accurately when it would start doing it). The steering actually rotates left at that point.

    I'd test it further and let you know if the wheel swap helped.
  14. delboyuk2005uk

    delboyuk2005uk Member

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    my ford focus has badly pulling to the left as well now too. And I need to put more pressue on sterring when turning right rather than left.

    Any problem I should be looking out for?
  15. JagoUK

    JagoUK Active Member

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    wasnt this on watchdog some time ago? something about the chasis twisting on certain focus' that caused them to start pulling while driving
  16. rojroj

    rojroj Guest

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    Well, the wheel swap helped a little.
    But it's still not perfect - very slight drift after about 100 - 150 mtrs.
    I guess I'll give up - can live with this !

    Thanks for all the contributions and hope it helps others in the same situation.
  17. RobbySpurs

    RobbySpurs Active Member

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    I may be really wrong about this, but for some reason (ie cannot remember why I think this), all cars in the uk will veer to the left a little (certainly, I am pretty sure that every car I have ever owned did) to ensure that in the event you take your hands of the wheel/fall asleep etc etc, you leave the road and die rather than plough into a head on collision with someone and kill them to.

    I would have thought, as mentioned above, the camber of the road will also play a part.
  18. BenW

    BenW Member

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    I used to have a slight problem with this on my car (not a focus) where if i let go of the steering wheel in a straigh line it would go slightly to one side. I had some new tyres fitted to the front and it was solved.
  19. Mark-UK

    Mark-UK Guest

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    rojroj,
    Taking into account the slight left camber of british roads, I would expect most vehicles to encounter a drift to the left after 100 or so metres.

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