When all is well with your car, you should be able to drive it under all circumstances while only exerting a tiny bit of pressure to the steering wheel. You shouldn't have to hang on until your knuckles are white in order to steer the vehicle in the correct direction. So, if this is exactly what you have to do under certain conditions but not others, what on earth is going wrong and how can you fix this?
When Does This Happen?
You may notice that this problem materialises only when you are braking. In other words, when you try to decelerat,e you need to make an adjustment in the opposite direction, just to keep on the straight and narrow. This can be very disconcerting, and over time, it can become even worse.
What Could Be Going Wrong?
A number of different problems could cause this behaviour, and it's important to understand what is happening. In a car that is equipped with a disc brake system, brake fluid is delivered to a caliper on each wheel in order to apply pressure to pads which in turn rub against the disc and decelerate each wheel.
The first thing to check is the efficiency of the brake pads, which are made from a material that will wear down over time. It is possible that one pad is more worn than the other, and thus the braking effort is more efficient on one side than the opposite. In addition, if you hear a grinding sound, this will mean that the pad is worn down so much that the metal plate at its base is grinding against the disc.
Discs and Calipers
Sometimes, the disc itself can be faulty and may become warped. This is less usual, but it can be caused if you tow heavy loads from time to time, or if you may have driven through some flooded streets when the discs themselves were warm from previous driving.
You should also have a look at the efficiency of the caliper system, as sometimes one will stick in place and not provide any braking action to one wheel. If it is stuck in the "on" position, you're likely to notice that the vehicle pulls to one side, even if you are not braking.
Finally, have a look at the hoses that deliver the fluid to each wheel. If one is pinched or has collapsed, then once again the corresponding wheel will not brake sufficiently and can cause the vehicle to pull to that side.
Take Immediate Action
Obviously, you cannot allow this type of situation to continue and should take your vehicle in for brake repairs as soon as possible.