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Old 06-19-2002, 07:24 AM   #1
MichaelD
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Default Tires/Alignment question: What is "radial pull" and what can be done about it?

I'm thinking "get new tires" is the answer. My 2002 Trooper pulls to the right. On a flat, level road, you have to hold the wheel cocked slightly to the left of center to go straight.

I know a bit about cars and alignment. This prob has nothing to do w/the brakes; i.e. it pulls to one side while braking. This happens when just driving or coasting.

I've had it checked out by two different alignment shops (the first one the Isuzu dealer sent me to since they don't have an in-house alignment rack).

Both place told me that all the specs are dead-on factory settings and that the problem is being caused by a tire defect called "radial pull."

WTH does that mean? There's nothing physically wrong w/the tires, as far as I know...I keep them properly inflated and rotate them every 6K miles.
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Old 06-19-2002, 07:28 AM   #2
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One way to tell if the problem is radial pull or not is to swap the two front tires/wheels with each other. If it pulls in the opposite direction, you have radial pull. If that's the case, try rotating the front tires directly to the rear.

Don't forget to also verify equal tire pressure while you're at it.
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Old 06-19-2002, 07:38 AM   #3
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The belts in one of the front tire have settled in such a way as to pull your car to the right, usually tires on a new car are warrantied by the tire manufacturer, looks like you'll need to find a tire shop that handles that brand & ask them to evaluate the tires.

With all the bad press Firestone has gotten lately, the tire shop should be pretty easy to deal with.

It's not a good idea to swap front tires from side to side as mentioned earlier, that's one of the things that can cause "radial pull". Tires should only be swapped from front to back, keeping them on the same side.
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Old 06-19-2002, 07:43 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. Hmm. I wonder why the Isuzu dealer didn't mention that warranty thing to me? Honestly, they have been really cool about everything so far.

While I was getting my oil changed, they even replaced, rather than attempt to unclog a clogged washer nozzle. Could've charged me, but didn't. Nice guys.

The tires now have just under 11K miles on them. They are Bridgestone Desert Duelers...an AT tire, not the pansy street-tread tires that come on most SUVs these days.

I'll call the dealer today and ask about warranty. It'll prolly be a pro-rated thing to account for the wear, I'd imagine.
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Old 06-19-2002, 08:57 AM   #5
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Radial pull is a phenomenon that results in a pull even when the alignment specs are perfect. Some people simply call it tire pull.

It can be usually be diagnosed by swapping the front tires. If the pull goes away or moves the other way, it's a tire pull or radial pull. It can happen with new tires or old.

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Old 06-19-2002, 11:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
It's not a good idea to swap front tires from side to side as mentioned earlier, that's one of the things that can cause "radial pull". Tires should only be swapped from front to back, keeping them on the same side.
I never heard that before. Is that from a major tire maker?
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by: Cyberian
Quote:
It's not a good idea to swap front tires from side to side as mentioned earlier, that's one of the things that can cause "radial pull". Tires should only be swapped from front to back, keeping them on the same side.
I never heard that before. Is that from a major tire maker?

I thought it was common knowledge. Think about what you are doing if you rotate a tire from one side to another. The tread would be pointing in the opposite direction of the way it had been running. There are also tires out there that have directional treads and are marked LEFT and RIGHT on sidewalls to ensure they are installed properly.
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by: Cyberian
Quote:
It's not a good idea to swap front tires from side to side as mentioned earlier, that's one of the things that can cause "radial pull". Tires should only be swapped from front to back, keeping them on the same side.
I never heard that before. Is that from a major tire maker?

No it's not. It's not correct, either. The reason you really should rotate from front to back is to keep all 4 tires wearing evenly. Swapping side-to-side won't cause radial pull any more than front to back will. We rotate tires all day long and we get plenty of people that come back with a pull after rotation. Radial or tire pull is not caused by any one thing; it can happen to any tire, anytime.

If you only swap tires side to side, you'll end up replacing 2 tires before the others because of uneven wear, not to mention you car will drive like crap after the front tires spend 20k miles only on the front.
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by: AU Tiger
I thought it was common knowledge. Think about what you are doing if you rotate a tire from one side to another. The tread would be pointing in the opposite direction of the way it had been running. There are also tires out there that have directional treads and are marked LEFT and RIGHT on sidewalls to ensure they are installed properly.
Yes, and the tires that DONT have "left" and "right" marked on them are NOT directional tires and can run in either direction.
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:45 AM   #10
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Keep talking. *taking notes*
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Old 06-19-2002, 11:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by: AU Tiger
Quote:
Originally posted by: Cyberian
Quote:
It's not a good idea to swap front tires from side to side as mentioned earlier, that's one of the things that can cause "radial pull". Tires should only be swapped from front to back, keeping them on the same side.
I never heard that before. Is that from a major tire maker?

I thought it was common knowledge. Think about what you are doing if you rotate a tire from one side to another. The tread would be pointing in the opposite direction of the way it had been running. There are also tires out there that have directional treads and are marked LEFT and RIGHT on sidewalls to ensure they are installed properly.
I knew about unidirectional tires, but I have been rotating my normal tires the way Tirerack suggests for many years.

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Old 06-19-2002, 02:07 PM   #12
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When radials were first introduced in the USA they had to stay on the same side of the car and rotate in the same direction as when they were broken in. My sister had a set in the 70's that she cross rotated and it ruined the tires. Now they lay the belts so a radial can go either direction (sans unidirections).

Many cars will pull to the right if the front end alignment is exactly centered. It has to do with the fact that most roads have a crown in the center to help rain runoff. Drive on a three or four lane road and see if it still pulls the same way in each lane.

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Old 06-19-2002, 05:01 PM   #13
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Damn I'm old, new rotation patterns just snuck up on me...

I remember when radials were controversial, & you had to have radial tuned suspension...

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Old 06-20-2002, 12:33 AM   #14
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Hi guys,

I've gotten some ideas from you and from a little birdy via PM. I will check the truck this Saturday for a binding caliper/binding 4wd hub. The truck pulls to the right no matter where you are; side street, parking lot, country road, 5-lane highway...it's there, unfortunately. Have a good night.
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