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I have an M240i xDrive Convertible w/ staggered tires.. Got new tires, got an alignment as there was a slight pull to the right and now it's significantly worse.

On paper the alignment is spot on.

They validated:

  • radial pull, swapped front tires (i.e. left front to right front, right front to left front), no effect.
  • no stuck caliper
  • bushings ok
  • nothing bent

Yet at speeds > 60mph the car pulls significantly to the right, in a way that my wife is not comfortable driving it.

This pull is not the crown of the road as it happens on every lane.

Car is 4.5 yo, 45,000 miles. No accidents.

So if not the things above, what could it be, and why can't the dealer see it?

I'm looking for a hail Mary. I've read 100s of forum posts and they covered all the stuff that is supposed to be covered.

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2 Answers 2

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After eliminating mechanical causes for the car drifting to the right by swapping tires and checking for brake drag, you have to consider road crown or road tilt as a possible cause.

Almost all roads are either crowned (slight hump in the middle) or tilted to one side, usually the right in the USA, to facilitate water drainage. The crown or tilt causes a slight drift to one side or the other in a perfectly aligned vehicle with no mechanical problems. It's unnoticeable at low speeds but becomes more apparent at higher speeds.

You should test for drifting on a variety of roads. If you find a crowned multi-lane road and it drifts to the left in the left lane but the right in the right lane, then everything is normal.

You're in Los Angeles, so if you drive on one of those famous 3-5 lane freeways in the middle lane at high speed (maybe at night?) you may see the car not drifting at all.

EDIT: See additional info here.

A chassis set at zero cross caster may drive straight down a flat road but tend to drift down a road crown. However, kick in a slight amount of extra negative caster on the opposite side of the drift and the drift is canceled out.

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  • Not related to the crown of the road. Tested a road that slants to the left. Same thing. Pulls to the right.
    – Anemoia
    Aug 2, 2023 at 17:40
  • Was there a collision?
    – Jupiter
    Aug 2, 2023 at 20:37
  • @Jupiter no. Only potholes. But it was pulling slightly before the alignment, and after the alignment it got worse (!). Also, they did a brake fluid flush replacement that day, but I pushed again on the stuck caliper and that is not the case.
    – Anemoia
    Aug 2, 2023 at 20:39
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First rotate front tires. Put the left on the right and right on left. While the front tires are off, check that the wheels are turning to be sure the brakes aren't sticking. Then firmly press on the brake pedal and release. Double check that the brakes aren't hanging up by checking to see if the wheels still turn freely. After brakes are checked an front wheels are switched, little us know what happens.

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  • Not certain on this, but I think when the OP said "swapped front tires" they mean the dealer swapped them from left to right.
    – HandyHowie
    Aug 2, 2023 at 9:32
  • Your right, everything I suggested was covered. Wondering if I should delete the answer.
    – Jupiter
    Aug 2, 2023 at 11:03
  • Tires rotated. Didn't help. Can't do fronts on the back due to staggered setup.
    – Anemoia
    Aug 2, 2023 at 17:41
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    Electric or hydraulic power steering? Presuming alignment is spot on, eliminates a static alignment issue. Since virtually all wheel alignments are performed with engine off, power steering doesn't come into play. However, with engine running, electric or hydraulic power steering may be contributing to the vehicle pulling to one side. Presuming alignment shops are not required to know this, seek out expertise related to faulty power steering.
    – F Dryer
    Aug 4, 2023 at 20:33

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