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Why Does Your Car Pull to One Side When Braking?

brake technician on the job

March 7, 2024 Topic: Tech Talks

Have you ever experienced that unnerving feeling when you hit the brakes and your car veers to one side? It’s not just frustrating; it can also be a safety concern. There are several reasons why your car might pull to one side when braking, and understanding these causes is essential for maintaining your vehicle’s safety and performance.

Uneven Brake Pad Wear

One of the most common reasons for pulling to one side is uneven brake pad wear. Over time, brake pads can wear down at different rates, causing uneven braking pressure. This imbalance leads to the car pulling to the side with the most effective brake pad, resulting in a noticeable steering pull.

Brake Caliper Issues

Brake calipers are responsible for squeezing the brake pads against the rotors to slow down or stop your vehicle. If a caliper on one side is sticking or not working correctly, it can create uneven braking pressure. This malfunction causes the car to pull to the side with the functioning caliper, leading to pulling during braking.

Tire Problems

Tire issues can also contribute to pulling when braking. Uneven tire pressure, uneven tire wear, or a misalignment can all cause your car to pull to one side. When you apply the brakes, these tire issues become more apparent as the tires interact with the road surface differently.

Suspension Problems

Issues with your car’s suspension, such as worn-out bushings or a misaligned suspension system, can lead to pulling during braking. A compromised suspension system affects how the weight of the car is distributed, causing it to pull to the side with the more responsive suspension components.

Contaminated Brake Fluid

Brake fluid plays a crucial role in the braking system’s functionality. If the brake fluid is contaminated with water or debris, it can lead to a loss of hydraulic pressure in the brake lines. This loss of pressure can cause uneven braking, resulting in the car pulling to one side.

Rotor Problems

Worn or warped brake rotors can also contribute to pulling during braking. When rotors are not smooth and even, the brake pads cannot make consistent contact, leading to an uneven braking effect. This inconsistency causes the car to pull towards the side with the more effective rotor contact.


If your car is pulling to one side when braking, it’s crucial not to ignore the issue. Not only is it an inconvenience, but it also poses a safety risk. Regular maintenance checks, including brake inspections, tire rotations, and suspension evaluations, can help prevent these issues. If you notice your car pulling, have it inspected by a qualified mechanic to identify and address the underlying cause promptly. Taking action early will not only keep you safe on the road but also save you from more extensive and costly repairs down the line.