What to do when you've already gotten you car aligned and your car still drifts.
"Hey honey could you hand me the phone??" As you drive down the free way with your car cruise control set thinking everything is fine... Your car drifts to the left entering the other person's lane! "I just got my alignment checked!" You test the alignment as you drive down the freeway some more. It now drifts to the right. What could it be? Lets go over a few examples of what could be causing this common problem.
This is exactly what happened to me with my 2009 Toyota Camry SE. After many attempts to get the alignment done, I ran out answers as to what could be causing this issue but hopefully I can provide some answers.
What you first need to discover is what the nature of the pull is. Is your car consistently pulling to the right? Is there a pattern to how your car is responding? Is it when you apply the brakes or when you accelerate? You'll be able to discover the core issue based on these questions.
Clear up the obvious
After you've checked and fixed the alignment, your tires would be the next thing that would be an obvious choice as to why the car would be moving or veering to the right or left, it makes sense right? If your car is moving only to the right, it could be that your car's left hand tires have more air pressure than on the right, or just one tire. This can be something that with a quick check at repair shop they will do this for free for you. Find out what your car's recommended tire pressure is.
Could it be the Axle?
Since you've checked your wheel alignment, your tire pressure and you still find that your car is veering right or left, it possibly could be your axle. It would take a lot of force to mess with your axle but it could be as simple as going through the median where your car bottoms out scraping slightly your axle to bend just a little on one side causing a torque in the way your car drives. That's far fetched, but it definitely happens you might want to get your axle looked at. This is commonly called the "thrust line" distance. It means the front and rear axle are too far apart causing a slight degree shift this can cause the two to no longer be parallel, and the the base to no longer be perpendicular with the axle. This can clearly be misaligned with years of driving, manufacture, tolerances and other causes. It can happen to any manufacturer, even if nothing occurred, it was just poor craftsmanship, however it's more likely something occurred this and needs to be looked at by a professional.
Another answer could be the steering box or steering bag. By doing an "over-center adjustment", meaning with the wheels as straight as you can get them you lose the steering adjustment bolt to reduce the lash. If you twist too much you can reduce tolerances too much, you'll know you went to far when the steering wheel stays where you are in stead of returning straight ahead.
Get your brakes checked
Lets say you had your wheel alignment looked at, your tire pressure exacted and even your axle looked at and it's still not corrected, it's time to take a look at your brakes. One brake could be getting caught not being able to move forward because of a small pressure lagging that side or tire while the other tires are freely spinning with no issues. This is as simple as changing you brake pads. So if you think you're having brake problems this can turn into a huge problem in the future, make sure you have these looked at before you go anywhere else.
Keep calm and continue having it looked at
Don't freak out after you haven't figured everything after one check of everything on this list, have it professionally looked at further to determine what is causing this strange drift or alignment issue. If it's more severe or still sever there needs to be an answer, if it's minor and still bothers you take it in. If you able to live with the slight drift then it could be just fine. Again, keep calm and keep on driving!!