Q: What makes my steering veer lift and right?

asked by on November 03, 2015

My 2012 Nissan Sentra was a fairly reliable car for the first 50,000 miles. Then, out of nowhere, it’s like the steering got drunk, randomly drifting left or right. I'm a bit scared to drive my car now and worry that maybe one day the steering will catch me off guard. I can only imagine the outcome! What would cause the steering to pull and drift like this?

Nissan has a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) to cover most driving problems with the tires or alignment. The TSB NTN08-097F, dated 11/21/2012, goes through various checks for alignment and wandering problems. Most likely the erratic steering is caused by what is called tire road force. When all tires are first made, they roll in a straight line, but will gradually start to go left or right depending on the tire. Most major tire replacement shops have a machine which can measure this road force and recommend where to put the tire on a car. The steering problem happens when you rotate your tires. You might have issues with a pull to one side or the other, or the car just wanders all over since it is going straight and the road causes the car to go left, then right. Most roads have a slight angle so water runs off to one side. This angle can vary and your car might go straight on one road and pull on another. The first thing I recommend is to try several different roads. If you still have issues, then have the tires rotated and pressures checked. This should correct the issue.

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