In the UK, 12% of cars are ‘on the pull’
According to research carried out for Kwik-Fit, as many as one in eight motorists claim the steering on their car pulls to one side or the other. If the ICM Research survey of 2,024 adults is representative of the wider British motoring public, this means that almost one million drivers are experiencing significant steering pull.
Younger drivers have less motoring experience and tend to drive older, less frequently maintained vehicles, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that wayward steering is more prevalent amongst younger car owners, with a 25 per cent of those under 34 saying their car pulled to one side when driving on a straight road. This contrasts dramatically with older drivers – only two per cent of drivers over 55 say they experience this problem.
There are a number of possible reasons why cars pull to one side. Steering pull can result from a simple difference in pressure between the left and right tyres, or it can come from mismatched tyres with different rates of wear. More serious issues include wheels not running at the angles set out in the manufacturer’s specifications, a situation that can arise through ever gradual wear or by impact, such as from striking a pothole, an occurrence experienced in the last year by 40 per cent of those surveyed. Depending on the severity of the impact, hitting a pothole can lead to tyre damage, balancing weights falling off rims, a loss of tyre pressure or even damage to suspension components.
“It may seem obvious, but tyres are the only thing that connects a car to the road, so it’s vital that they are set up properly,” comments Kwik Fit communications director Roger Griggs. “It’s incredible to think that four million drivers are struggling with their steering on a daily basis – this is not only a safety issue but increases tyre wear and fuel consumption. We would encourage all those drivers to first check their tyre pressures and wear, and then have their alignment and suspension checked if needs be. Any driver who needs advice can pop into a Kwik Fit centre and speak to our alignment experts.”