If you are concerned about your Jeep pulling to the right or it having too much play on your steering wheel then this article is for you. Driving a vehicle that pulls to one side, requiring constant correction to keep it tracking straight, is tiring and downright annoying. So what are some of the possible culprits that cause this phenomenon in your Jeep?
What could cause your Jeep to pull to the right? Your Jeep can pull to the right if any of the below components are out of specification:
- Caster and Thrust angles
- Play in your right ball joints and unit bearings
- A slightly tweaked housing
- Control arm bushings
- Tie-rod ends
- Front end alignment
Also, keep in mind, as a safety precaution, certain alignment shops will intentionally align the vehicle to drift slightly to the right. The reasoning behind this is, in the event of something happening to the driver while driving, i.e. (fatigue, Stroke, unconscious), which causes him to lose contact with the steering wheel, the vehicle will drift to the right, off from the road (USA Roads) instead of into oncoming traffic.
A slight drift to the right can be expected and is acceptable, however, if it is severe and even to the point where you are experiencing uneven tire wear, then something else is amiss.
So, what if the wheel alignment has been set true, yet you’re still experiencing the above? What then? Let’s delve a bit deeper into the situation and possible solutions.
Table of Contents
Jeep JL Pulls to the Right
So your JL is pulling to the right and you want to find the solution. Before we can, we’ll need to start the process of elimination and ask a few questions:
- Does it pull harder under acceleration or just the same all the time?
- Does it pull harder under braking
- Are the springs looking a bit Saggy?
- Is there a substantial difference in measurement between the passenger side and the driver’s side, from the rear hub to the front hub?
- If yes, is that 1/2-inch difference substantial enough to cause a pull to the right?
To identify the culprit, we need to eliminate the potential culprits one by one with a series of questions and tests. This will ensure you don’t end up spending your hard-earned cash on irrelevant repairs/components.
Pulling Harder Under Acceleration
If the effect is mainly manifested under acceleration, then the culprit could be the Caster and Thruster angle being out of spec. The caster and thrust angle will cause a right drift if it’s out. In this instance, it might be worth it to have your alignment re-checked by another reputable shop.
If the technician knows what he is doing, he can fix the caster setting which is adjustable with the use of the marked ring bolts on the lower control arm at the axle end. A caster is best described as a vertical line that runs through the 2 pivot points in your car or truck suspension.
Once your vehicle is up on the ramp or over the pit, have them inspect the following components:
- Check for play in your right ball joints and unit bearing.
- If you have sloppy steering, it could be joints in the linkage, a loose box mount, or a loose box, which can be tightened.
- Have the front wheels raised off the ground and inspect those ball joints
- Inspect the brake calipers and the rubber hoses going into the caliper, you could even have a one-way blockage.
- IF, all else fails and you are 100% confident the suspension settings and components are all within factory spec, then lastly have a look at your wheel bearing. If the bearing has never been replaced it could become tight, causing the vehicle to pull to the right. If you can loosen it up just a little, it should also run true again.
Some smaller components you also want to inspect are:
- Steering stabilizer
- Control arm bushings
- Tie-rod ends
- Pitman Arms
- Grease all moving front-end components.
- Check Tire Pressure
With SFA (solid front and rear axles), there isn’t much adjustment to be made. If you’ve inspected the above components and replaced what’s necessary to bring everything within factory specifications, then you might also want to inspect the rear control arm bushings and ball joint, rear lower control arms, and rear sway bar.
What could be the cause if the Jeep pulls to the right, only under braking?
Let’s have a look
Jeep Pulls To Right When Braking
When the vehicle tracks 100% true under acceleration, you can eliminate a lot of suspension components. In this instance, the symptoms are only present under braking, which means, only when the calipers come in contact with the discs.
If you have warped rotors, you could experience severe pulling symptoms under braking. Either right or left. You could hear and feel a heavy wheel shudder which can even cause the vehicle to vibrate when the brakes are applied. In some cases, the car will pull to one side when braking.
A collapsed brake line can cause the calipers to move unevenly. This could also cause the vehicle to pull to one side when braking.
Dragging brake hoses can also cause pulling to one side. This can be identified by jacking the front wheels off the ground and rotating both tires. Have an assistant apply brakes from inside and while doing so, inspect to see if one brake line is pulling substantially harder than the other. If this happens then one side will work harder than the other, causing it to overheat and glaze over, resulting in brake fade.
Check your Brake calipers for any contamination. Also, inspect the rotor surfaces. If one appears darker than the other, then it could have possibly been overheated. Swap pads out.
You might need to bleed the brakes to eliminate any air in the caliper.
Lastly, inspect your Master Cylinder. One brake will stop getting fluid before the other, causing you to get a sideways pull.
So components to check when Jeep pulls to the right when braking
- Have all front-end suspension components inspected
- Warped Rotors
- Collapsed Brake Hose
- Pinched Brake Hose
- Dragging Brake hose
- Contaminated Brake Calipers
- Faulty Master Cylinder
What about Sagging Spring? Could that cause the Jeep to pull to the right?
Jeep Uneven Ride Height
You will need to physically measure each corner for sagging. Measure all four corners to ensure they are all the same height. For an accurate reading, measure from the ground to the wheel well arch.
Also, do a tire rotation and verify all the tire pressures are the same.
If you have a sagging, suspension, it will result in an imbalance in the vehicle. This will become more obvious when cornering and braking since the weight of the vehicle will be unevenly shifted.
A sagging spring can cause the vehicle to track skew and pull to the right or left.
Have your shocks and springs tested at a reputable suspension workshop?
As a side note, make sure you haven’t loaded the vehicle too heavily on one side or that you have too many bolt-on accessories on any particular side, causing an imbalance in the vehicle’s driving dynamics.
Jeep JK Pulls Right After Lift
So after you’ve installed a lift kit and some bigger tires you might experience the Jeep not pulling severely to the right-hand side. This could be caused by a few things which we’ll cover.
The pulling to the right after installing a lift could be caused by any of the following reasons:
- Track bar & LCA
- Caster needs readjustment
- Certain off-road Tire brands are the culprit
- Check your alignment
So the one possible solution could be to get a track bar to re-center your front axle. You could include adjustable lower control arms to adjust your caster angles. After reading many online posts and forum threads, it appears the adjustable lower control arms are the most helpful in fixing this pull to the right.
Once you have the Adjustable caster installed, you adjust the right side of the front axle about 1/2″ forward. This will help greatly with the pull to the right.
Next, let’s look at what tires you are running. Certain brands have been known to be harder to balance properly, affecting wheel alignment and resulting in the Jeep pulling to the right. BFG and Cooper’s Tires are usually quite well balanced, however, other brands like TOYO have been known to cause the pulling effect. Also the bigger the tire, the harder it becomes to get them to align properly.
If your Jeep pulls to the right, carry out some of the DIY checks mentioned above before you take it to a professional. If your DIY troubleshooting fails, then it could be something that requires replacement. Make sure your brake lines are not pinched or blocked or there is binding on one of your discs.
Caster angles are also a possible culprit and when you experience the effect after installing a suspension lift, you might have to invest in adjustable LCAs.