Reasons Your Toyota Highlander Pulls to the Left When Driving (Plus Solutions)

Are you experiencing difficulty keeping your Toyota Highlander driving straight on the road? If your Highlander is pulling to the left, you are not alone.

This issue is a common problem faced by many drivers, and various factors can cause it. While driving on a straight road, a pull to the left can be frustrating and, more importantly, a safety concern.

The most common reason your Toyota Highlander pulls to the left when driving is tire misalignment, which can be caused by hitting a curb or pothole. To fix this issue, you have to make an alignment check and adjustment.

In this guide, we will discuss some of the most common reasons for your Highlander pulling to the left and provide you with solutions to remedy the issue.

Common Reasons Your Toyota Highlander Pulls to the Left When Driving

If you’re noticing that your Toyota Highlander tends to drift to the left while you’re driving, there could be several reasons for this behavior. Let’s explore some of the most common culprits and what you can do to address them.

1. Tire Pressure and Wear

One of the simplest explanations for a car that pulls to the left is uneven tire pressure or wear. If one tire is underinflated or worn down than the others, it can create a mismatch in handling and cause the vehicle to lean to one side.

2. Alignment Issues

Another potential cause of your Highlander’s leftward drift is misalignment of the wheels. When the camber, caster, or toe angle of the wheels is off, it can affect how the tires make contact with the road and steer the vehicle.

3. Brake Problems

If the left front brake is sticking or dragging, it can create a force that pulls the car to the left. You may notice a burning smell or excessive heat from the affected wheel, or the brake pedal may feel spongy or unresponsive.

4. Suspension Problems

The suspension system of your Highlander helps to absorb shocks and vibrations from the road, maintain proper ride height, and keep the wheels aligned. When components such as the shocks, struts, springs, or sway bar links wear out or fail, it can cause the car to lean or bounce to one side. Other signs of suspension issues include a noisy ride, a bumpy ride, or uneven tire wear.

5. Wheel Bearing Issues

The wheel bearings of your Highlander enable the wheels to spin freely and smoothly on the axles. When a bearing becomes damaged or worn, it can create friction, heat, and noise that can cause the wheel to wobble or pull to one side. You may hear a grinding or humming noise from the affected wheel or feel a vibration in the steering wheel or floorboard.

How to Tell if Your Toyota Highlander is Pulling to the Left?

Recognizing the signs of a car that pulls to one side can help you address the issue before it gets worse. Here are some of the most common indications that your Highlander pulls to the left.

  • Uneven Tire Wear: When your Highlander pulls to the left, it can create uneven wear patterns on the tires. You may notice that the tread on the left tire is more worn down than the right tire or the wear is concentrated on the inner or outer edges of the tire. This can lead to reduced traction, handling, and longevity of the tires.
  • Vibration in the Steering Wheel: If your Highlander is pulling to the left, you may feel a vibration or shaking in the steering wheel while you’re driving. This can result from uneven tire wear, misaligned wheels, or damaged suspension components. The vibration may be more noticeable at higher speeds or on certain roads.
  • Squeaking or Grinding Noise When Braking: When your Highlander pulls to the left, it can also affect the braking performance. If the left front brake is dragging or not releasing properly, it can create a noise that sounds like squeaking, grinding, or rubbing. You may also feel a pulsation or vibration in the brake pedal or steering wheel.
  • Vehicle Drifting to One Side: One of the most obvious signs of a car that pulls to the left is when the vehicle drifts to one side or the other while you’re driving on a straight road. You may need to constantly adjust the steering wheel to keep the car in the center of the lane or feel like you’re fighting against the road.
  • Difficulty Steering Straight: Another sign that your Highlander is pulling to the left is when you have difficulty steering the vehicle straight. The steering may feel loose, vague, or unresponsive, or you may need more force than usual to turn the wheel.

What to Do If Your Toyota Highlander is Pulling to the Left?

A car that pulls to one side can be a sign of a range of issues, from something as simple as low tire pressure to more complex issues like suspension or brake problems. Here are some common fixes for a Highlander that pulls to the left.

Step 1: Check Tire Pressure and Rotate Tires

One of the easiest and most affordable fixes for a Highlander that pulls to the left is to check the tire pressure and rotate the tires. Low tire pressure can cause uneven wear on the tires, leading to pulling to one side. Rotating the tires can help to even out the wear and extend the life of the tires. Be sure to follow your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure and rotation schedule.

Step 2: Get a Wheel Alignment

If your Highlander continues to pull to the left after checking the tire pressure, it may be time to get a wheel alignment. Misaligned wheels can cause the car to pull to one side, leading to uneven tire wear, poor handling, and reduced fuel efficiency. A qualified mechanic can adjust the angles of the wheels to the manufacturer’s specifications, which can help to improve the steering and handling of the vehicle.

Step 3: Inspect and Repair Brakes

A problem with the brakes can also cause your Highlander to pull to the left. If the left front brake is dragging or not releasing properly, it can create a pulling sensation. Inspecting the brake pads, calipers, and rotors can help to identify any issues that need to be addressed. Worn brake components should be replaced, and the brake system should be properly lubricated to prevent future issues.

Step 4: Repair or Replace Suspension Components

The suspension system supports the vehicle’s weight and absorbs shocks from the road. If the suspension components are worn or damaged, it can affect the alignment and handling of the car. A mechanic can inspect the suspension system for signs of wear or damage and replace any components as needed, such as struts, shocks, springs, or control arms.

Step 5: Replace Wheel Bearings

Another potential cause of a Highlander that pulls to the left is a worn or damaged wheel bearing. The wheel bearings allow the wheels to spin freely and smoothly and can wear out over time due to normal use or lack of maintenance. A mechanic can inspect the wheel bearings for signs of wear or damage and replace them as needed to improve the handling and safety of the vehicle.

However, if your Toyota Highlander pulls to the right when driving, you should also fix the issue by taking the necessary actions.

How to Prevent Your Toyota Highlander Pulls to the Left When Driving?

Preventive maintenance is key to avoiding problems with your Toyota Highlander pulling to the left. Here are some important steps to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

  • Regular Tire Pressure Checks and Maintenance: Checking your tire pressure regularly is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent your Highlander from pulling to the left. Low tire pressure can cause uneven wear on the tires, leading to pulling to one side.
  • Proper Wheel Alignment: Wheel alignment is an important aspect of vehicle maintenance that helps to ensure that the wheels are properly angled to the manufacturer’s specifications. Proper wheel alignment can prevent your Highlander from pulling to the left and improve handling, tire wear, and fuel efficiency.
  • Regular Brake Inspections and Maintenance: Your brakes are a critical component of your vehicle’s safety and performance and can also affect your Highlander’s handling and steering. Regular brake inspections and maintenance can prevent issues that could cause your vehicle to pull to the left.
  • Suspension and Steering System Inspections: The suspension and steering system of your Highlander work together to support the weight of the vehicle, absorb shocks, and allow for smooth handling and steering. Regular inspections of these systems can identify any issues that could cause your vehicle to pull to the left.
  • Wheel Bearing Inspections and Replacement: Wheel bearings allow the wheels to spin freely and smoothly, and they can wear out over time due to normal use or lack of maintenance. If your wheel bearings become worn or damaged, they can cause your Highlander to pull to the left.

Final Thoughts

So, it is clear that a Toyota Highlander pulls to the left when a variety of reasons, including misaligned wheels, low tire pressure, a worn steering system, and an imbalanced suspension, can cause driving. Fortunately, having the vehicle inspected and serviced by a professional mechanic can easily fix these issues.

Keeping the wheels in balance and alignment, checking the tire pressure regularly, and replacing worn steering and suspension components can keep a Toyota Highlander from pulling to the left when driving. Therefore, you should take the necessary steps to ensure your vehicle is running properly.