Car not driving straight

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Motoring
39 replies 3.2K views
13

Replies

  • facade wrote: »
    Best answer is to get a 4 wheel alignment check (which is expensive) and then see what needs doing.
    Every 4 wheel alignment centre I have ever used only charges if they have to make adjustment, I have never been charged for simply checking.
    Understeer is when you hit a wall with the front of your car
    Oversteer is when you hit a wall with the back of your car
    Horsepower is how fast your car hits the wall
    Torque is how far your car sends the wall across the field once you've hit it
  • sh0597sh0597 Forumite
    578 Posts
    I could do that but there's loads of similar threads on the net of people paying out for alignment adjustment and finding it does nothing or the alignment quickly goes out again.


    The rear alignment isn't meant to be adjustable.


    Think I'll just have it MOT'ed to begin with.
  • sh0597 wrote: »
    Think I'll just have it MOT'ed to begin with.
    Unless it actually needs one, you'll be throwing your money away.
    Understeer is when you hit a wall with the front of your car
    Oversteer is when you hit a wall with the back of your car
    Horsepower is how fast your car hits the wall
    Torque is how far your car sends the wall across the field once you've hit it
  • Joe_HornerJoe_Horner Forumite
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    First (free) checks should be:

    tyre pressures - a low front left (or high front right) pressure will cause a pull towards the lower pressure. Some cars are more sensitive to this than others.

    Brakes binding: Jack up the front left wheel and see if it turns without significant drag from the brakes. It can be a little hard to tell on FWD cars because you have to allow for the drag of the gearbox. If in doubt, try the front right as well as a reference - if the left is noticably harder to turn than the right then suspect a lazy caliper that's not releasing properly.

    While it's jacked up, grap the wheel at 3 and 9 o'clock and rock it lightly. You're looking for obvious play and / or knocking sounds. If you find play, try again holding it at 12 and 6 o'clock. play in both positions suggests wheel bearing, play at 3 / 9 only suggests a steering joint worn.

    If all that seems ok, get the MOT done anyway because you have to pay for that, and they may pick something up without you having to pay for a separate tracking check which might not cure the problem.

    Note that common tracking errors (ie: tracking rather than a bent car) generally cause instability / lack of self centering or excessive centering (heavy steering) in both directions rather than a consistent pull to one side or the other, so should be almost the last check to pay for when looking for a consistent pull. Certainly after all the free stuff is looked at!
  • EdGasketEdGasket
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    Just get a free front wheel alignment check; most tyre places do them (and of course the more unscrupulous ones always say it needs doing but in this case it sounds like it does anyway).
  • facadefacade Forumite
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    colino wrote: »
    You will have to stop digging with the Tapley rubbish. Those cars that need to use one are reversed off the lane and tested at the recommended speed - between 15 and 20mph. I've never seen one even used out of the garage confines, there's no need because of the low speeds involved. If your car was so bad, it wouldn't have reached the MOT station without crashing.

    I'm not digging for anything. Forget it. My point was that a roller test will pass a car that is bent in the middle as the brakes are balanced whichever way the two axles point.
    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science ;))
  • colinocolino Forumite
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    Whereas an ancient decelerometer, no matter how beautifully built, will see anything more? Absolute drivel.
  • Joe_HornerJoe_Horner Forumite
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    Facade and Colino, you both have a point.

    A tapley meter won't show up a bent chassis, and it won't necessarily show up brake imbalance but it will (if used as it's supposed to) involve a test drive which will show up pulling. The fact that many garages don't bother and just test on the forecourt isn't the point - they're supposed to take it out on the road to test.

    On the other hand, even if a test drive shows up a pull to one side, if it can't be traced to brakes or steering, it's not a fail on the MOT because there ain't no RFR for bananas unless it's so bad it's visible as distortion.
  • colinocolino Forumite
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    Joe, sorry to correct you, but at no point are you instructed to use a brake meter on a road test. The Tapley for example works at above 15mph and ideally below 20mph, so you would be a (expensive tech on the road) hazard driving out in the open road at giffer speeds.
    Your car only gets test driven at MOT if, a) the NT things its a nice car, or b) they are thinking of buying one. Anyone else who has a road test performed at MOT time by the NT should check their Wifes medical records. There is probably a surreptitious TUBE note there too.
  • Joe_HornerJoe_Horner Forumite
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    That may be how some garages do it in practice, Colino, but the manual is very clear about how to use a tapley:

    Drive the vehicle on a level road at a steady speed of approximately 20mph (32kph) and note the brake efficiency recorded when progressively applying only: a. the service brake. b.the parking brake.


    Not many MOT stations I can think of have forecourts that are big (and clear) enough to reach a steady 20mph then brake progressively (while observing any pull or swerve) before coming into hard contact with their neighbours!
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