How Lead/Pull Affects Tires

How Lead/Pull Affects Tires

How well a vehicle stays in a lane is the result of a complex equation, involving the vehicle’s suspension, steering and tires.

How well a vehicle stays in a lane is the result of a complex equation. It involves the vehicle’s suspension, steering and tires on all four corners. So, how do tires play a role? Let’s find out in this Tire Review Continental Tire Garage Studio video.

When a customer comes in complaining of the steering leaning toward one side, it could be a clue that the vehicle has a lead/pull condition. This happens when the wheel is not straight when traveling in a straight line down the road. A lead/pull condition can mean that the chassis and tire conditions that require steering input to achieve travel in the desired direction are off.

It is important for a technician to capture what the driver is experiencing and verifying if the condition explained meets the mechanical criteria for the complaint.

That’s why when a driver comes in and you think they’re experiencing a lead/pull condition, test driving the vehicle is critical. Just pulling the car into the alignment bay, taking readings and looking for the specification that’s out of whack will typically never solve a customer complaint or car problem.

When a vehicle with a possible lead/pull condition comes into the shop, the first item technicians should inspect are the tires. Today’s tires are made to higher tolerances and the decreased sidewall area can reduce the chances of a tire’s rolling circumference causing pulls. But there is one thing that remains constant: drivers not checking the inflation pressure regularly. So, a side-to-side difference as small as 3 psi can cause a lead/pull condition.

Rotating tires can indicate if the problem is related to the tires. If you rotate the front tires side to side and the pull is in the opposite direction, you may have found your problem. If you rotate the tires from front to rear and the problem is gone, you just might have solved the problem until the next rotation.

So, the next time a customer comes to your shop with this complaint, look at the full set of tires and wheels and come up with a mounting strategy to cure the steering lead/pull. If the tires don’t show signs of uneven wear, inspect other components involved in the vehicle’s steering to diagnose the issue.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tire, service and shop operations videos.

You May Also Like

Faith, Community Drive Success for Beroth Tire

TJ Beroth continues his family’s business legacy thanks to valuable insights and experiences.

Johnnyg Featured beroth

TJ Beroth comes from a long line of proud independent tire dealers that have demonstrated passion for serving their community. And TJ is no exception. TJ’s grandfather, Tom, started Mock-Beroth Tire & Automotive in 1966 with the Mock brothers in the greater Winston-Salem area. It started as a recapping business and has evolved to 11 retail locations today. TJ’s dad, T, took over for Tom in the late 70s and developed the motto of “do more, give more” within the communities the business serves. After T passed away from ALS last year, TJ took over the helm as president, overseeing the operations of seven stores under Beroth Tire & Automotive, as he continues his family’s legacy.  

The Three Roles Successful Tire Shop Owners Play

Your leadership style and qualities have a profound impact on your employees.

Having Trouble Calibrating ADAS?

We discuss how to diagnose issues early to avoid faulty or incomplete ADAS calibrations.

Why You Should Update TPMS Tools Regularly

In today’s fast-paced auto industry, it’s important for tire service experts to keep up with the latest updates to TPMS.

How Long Does a Tire Last?

When customers ask, explain how their habits and driving conditions play the biggest role in tire life.


Other Posts

Step by Step: How to Properly Change an EV Tire

Tire changing is a straightforward procedure for most technicians, but the transition from ICE vehicles to EVs will introduce some changes.

EV on Lift
Continental Unveils Concept CityPlus Tire

Results from the concept tire are lower CO2 emissions from passenger cars with ICEs and longer driving ranges for EVs.

Retread Tires: What Helps Business Helps People

Retreads lead to a triple bottom line of benefits, including economics, environment and safety.

Continental Tire Plant in Portugal Receives ISCC PLUS Certification

The UltraContact NXT tire incorporates up to 28% ISCC PLUS-certified materials.