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Old 11-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pulling on highway?

Hey all...

New owner of a 2011 Taurus here. It is a SEL that I picked up from a Ford dealer used with about 15000 miles on it (24000km to me). I absolutely love this car... Its my first Ford (after a bunch of GMs and Hondas) and I think it is the nicest sedan I've ever driven.

Anyway, when I first picked it up I started to notice after about a day that it seemed to be pulling slightly to the right... Mainly noticeable on the highway if I let go of the wheel for a bit, but also in the city. I found that to drive straight that I would have to hold the wheel slightly to the left. I felt that in the slow lane or on a regular road it pulled right... and then in the fast lane on the highway it pulled left slightly, which I figured was to do with the crown of the road.

So I took it back to Ford and they did a 4 wheel alignment for free. From what I can read on the invoice, it looks like they did the alignment and centered the steering wheel, it still pulled right, so they swapped the tires and adjusted the "toe" of the left front wheel.

Right away the car seemed to drive perfect on all roads... The steering wheel seems perfectly straight when I am driving straight, and it seems to track pretty straight on most roads even when I let go of the wheel... BUT, now in the FAST (left) lane of the highway, it seems to drift faster to the left than it did before... Not horribly, but if I let go of the wheel in the fast lane on a straight stretch of highway it moves left pretty quick and I have to correct it in 3-5 seconds... It seems to track pretty well in the slow lane and on regular city streets though.

Should I be worried about this? What could be a possible cause? Or is it normal with the road crowning and I am just over thinking it because it is a new car and I noticed the original problem in the first place? I am wondering if maybe there is something bent/broken in the steering system, or a problem with the tire, etc. I would assume that if there was they would have noticed it during the alignment but then again it was from the dealer I bought it from so who knows if they would be up front about it.

Here is the exact wording from the invoice in case that helps:

Complaint: Customer says vehicle wanders right and has to drive with steering wheel off center - left. Check alignment specs.

Correction: Required. Left front toe'd in.

Then below that it says this:

Complaint: Align wheels. Center steering wheel. Check for proper tire pressure. Check steering components.

Correction: 4 wheel align. Still drifts right. Switched front tires 0.3 R/T OK.

Last edited by whistler; 11-20-2012 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Check for proper tire pressure.
Do not trust the dealer to get this right.
Did you also check tires for proper pressure?
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:35 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes sir... I checked before and after bringing it in... they seem fine... about 31psi all tires.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You will notice a pull on crowned roads. As you found out, the alignment settings are a compromise between a pull in the left lane or a pull in the right lane. The suspension is tuned for driving in the right lane with a slight crown. You should be spending most of your time in the right lane, so I would tend to favor an alignment for the right lane. In other words, if you drive in the center of the road (straddling the peak) the car should have a slight wander to the left.

Not sure what the tire spec is on your car (check the sticker in the driver's door frame), but 31 psi sounds low. My guess is that it should be in the 34-36 psi range. Make sure you check them with an accurate pressure gauge.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Yes, as a way to drain water many roads are like football fields--they are humped in the middle. Does it pull to left in the left lane of a multi-lane highway or also on fast (highway speed) 2-lane country roads?
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thuzmund View Post
Yes, as a way to drain water many roads are like football fields--they are humped in the middle. Does it pull to left in the left lane of a multi-lane highway or also on fast (highway speed) 2-lane country roads?
It seems to be mainly in the left lane of a multi lane highway... It is a significant pull... basically if I put the steering wheel straight and let go at 75mph, the car would be in the ditch/median in about 5 seconds. I need to correct the wheel in about 3-5 seconds before I hit the left rumble strip on a straight section of highway. If I do the same thing in the right lane, the car seems to drive pretty straight with a very minor drift to the right (reasonable considering the angle of the road)... by comparison I can let go and don't need to correct it for about 10 seconds.

I compared it today with the car I drive for work (2007 Impala) on the same highway... the Impala seemed to have a very slight left pull in the left lane, and a very slight right pull in the right lane (basically moving predictably with the angle of the road), but overall seemed more stable than the Taurus. The Taurus in comparison drives about the same in the right lane, but has a more sharp pull in the left lane. Before I got the alignment it was the opposite, it drove pretty good in the left lane but had a sharper pull in the right lane.

I'm wondering if maybe to correct the right pull, they adjusted it too much to the left... or maybe it is the tire or wheel that is the problem (since they switched them and the car went from a right pull to a left pull).

Last edited by whistler; 11-21-2012 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 09:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Tires can contribute to pull due to cupping. The best tire balancing machines will measure the amount of pull from each tire due to cupping, and will tell the technician where to put the tires on the car to minimize the amount of overall pull.

So it could be the tires or because they overcorrected on the alignment. Did they give you an alignment printout with the specs?
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have this problem with my 09 taurus, it pulls to the left while driving and braking it feels loke you have a flat tire. I have taken it to two tire shops and they both say everything is alligned correctly and tires are new. I was told that Ford has off set the front tires on the Taurus and there is no way to get rid of this problem
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