Why Does My Car Pull When I Brake? (11 Reasons Why)

When you drive your car, you frequently take your brakes for granted. However, signs will be evident if the braking system is malfunctioning. Among the most widespread braking problems is when the steering wheel begins to pull as you step on the brake pedal.

So, when applying the brakes, a vehicle may pull to one side. If you’re wondering why this happens, look what we found out about the matter!

Why Does My Car Pull When I Brake?

Improper wheel alignment is the most common reason a car pulls when pressing the brakes. Whether it steers to the side or you hit a pothole, driving conditions will alter your wheel alignment, which must be inspected regularly, along with your vehicle’s memory steer, mismatched brake pads, uneven tire pressure, and worn-out suspension parts.

Learn more about why your car pulls when you brake. Here are 11 reasons why; continue reading!

1. Stuck Brake Caliper

A vehicle that pulls to the left or right is usually the result of a faulty caliper in your vehicle’s braking system.

In some instances, you’ll have a trapped caliper that merely must be changed to bring your braking system back up and running.

2. Brake Hose That Collapsed

A collapsed brake hose is another possibility for a pulling issue to one side.

When you inspect the hose, it may appear to be in good condition on the outside, but you won’t be able to tell if the liner on the interior is starting to cause a constraint or not.

So again, the only way to determine this issue is to observe how well the car pulls when you press the brakes.

Also, when you have a collapsed brake hose, your car will usually pull for just a few seconds after you use the brake and would then return to normal.

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In rare cases, the brake hose would allow fluid to enter the caliper but not return it to the master cylinder.

Therefore, the caliper will not fully release, starting to cause the pull to remain in place.

3. Damaged Brake Pads

Left and right brake pads of the same axle typically wear at the same rate; however, if you have irregular brake pad wear for any reason (for example, a trapped brake caliper).

In that case, your vehicle’s brake pads over one side may “grab” more than the other, which usually causes your truck or car to veer to one side when applying the brakes.

4. Suspension Parts Are Worn Out

When you brake, the weight of your car shifts, which causes your suspension to have an impact.

For example, a bad lower limit arm bushing may cause the control arm to keep moving, causing your car to pull to the right and left depending on which side the bushing is really on.

5. Irregular Tire Pressure

When one tire on the same axle has significantly lower air pressure than the opposite tire, your car would then usually pull to that side. Therefore, it’s the most visible on the front tire.

That said, the possible explanation for this is that low air pressure changes the diameter and pace of the tire, causing the car to be out of alignment.

It’s similar to getting a flat and replacing it with a “donut” (space saver) tire. Therefore, while driving and braking, your vehicle will tend to veer slightly to that side.

6. Damaged Wheel Bearing

Damaged Wheel Bearing

Too much play or misalignment in a wheel bearing can end up causing the brake rotor to be somehow misaligned with the vehicle’s brake caliper and to its pad.

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When braking, the entire brake pad assembly may not initiate contact with the rotor as it does on the opposite side.

As a result, there will be less tension on just one side, and your car will pull to one side.

7. Brake Pads Are Mismatched

The friction coefficient varies depending on the type of brake pad material.

So, if you or the former car owner modified the brake pads on only one wheel (do not do this), the left side brake pads may have a different friction material than the right side brake pads.

Further, it causes one pair of brake pads to possess more cutting power than the other, causing your vehicle to veer left or right when you apply the brakes.

8. Brake Fluid Leakage

Aside from damaged brake hoses, the brake fluid could also leak from primary brake system components.

For example, it could happen on the caliper pistons or the wheel cylinder in the case of drum brakes.

Corrosion is frequently to blame for this. However, it’s also true that the seals in these components have worn out.

9. Wheels Are Misaligned

A problem with the wheel alignment is among the most common causes of your car pulling to one side.

Further, once your axles and wheel are not correctly lined, you will start noticing your steering wheel and the entire front of the car pulling to the right or left.

If this is the case, a mechanic can conveniently align your wheel and get you back on the road.

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Therefore, unequal tread wear is a more severe symptom of unaligned wheels because this causes unequal tread wear, making your tires unsafe.

10. Tire Conicity

Ride disruption or tire pull are other terms for tire conicity. With that, this happens when a car tire is inflated in a cone shape rather than an even cylinder.

Fortunately, tire conicity is detectable with the naked eye, allowing you to detect it right away. Before purchasing a new car tire, carry a ruler to examine for conicity issues.

11. Memory Steer

Memory steer refers to a vehicle that continues to pull to one side after completing a shift similarly.

Although the signs of memory steer are extremely self, the possible explanation why it takes place is a little more complicated.

For example, some common causes of memory steer include damaged bearings in the strut towers, binding idler arms, binding ball joints, pressing tie rod ends, and lacking lubrication.

Also, because there isn’t much you can do in the event of a memory steer, it’s best to take your vehicle to an expert who can diagnose the issue and replace the faulty parts.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why your Abs light is on, car jerks when stopped at light, and Honda Civic overheating

Conclusion

If your car pulls when you brake, this is a real problem you must address as quickly as possible.

That said, you could help find a way to hold your vehicle running safely by recognizing the car pulling symptoms.

Torque steering, uneven brake wear, wheel alignment issues, damaged steering components, inconsistent tire pressure, damaged calipers, and a collapsed brake hose are some of the symptoms to look out for.

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