For all of the advances in vehicle technology and performance, keeping track of all necessary maintenance and repair work can be difficult. One of the most critical conditions for driving your car safely and happily is proper wheel alignment. Regrettably, it is perhaps one of the most underappreciated. Many people suffer from the signs and symptoms of wheel misalignment, oblivious to the fact that it is a simple remedy. Here are five common indicators that your vehicle needs to be aligned.
1. The Steering Wheel Is Skewed To One Side.
Your handlebars should be almost perfectly straight if you're going straight down a smooth, level lane. Depending on the crest of the lane, a small amount of variance is normally permitted, but the wheel should be balanced and straight, and the vehicle's emblem in the center of the steering level should resemble you. It's time for an alignment if the wheel is more than a few degrees off-center in either direction. This will return the steering wheel to its original position and boost overall handling characteristics.
2. The Car Is Swerving To One Side Or The Other.
Vehicle traction is easier to see when driving straight down a flat lane, similar to the first point. It's a common misconception that when you take your hands off the steering wheel, the vehicle can drive perfectly straight. This may be true in a perfect world, but in fact, all roads have some degree of crowning, causing a slight pull to one side. It's also risky to take your hands off the steering wheel completely. Instead, the vehicle must maintain a straight path with minimal steering effort. If your car pulls to one side or the other, it's time to get your alignment tested and fixed, which will normally correct the towing and increase your overall driving performance.
3. You've Noticed Unusual Tire Wear In Specific Areas.
Tire wear patterns can reveal a great deal about a vehicle's condition. Tire wear patterns may be used by a trained technician to make informed guesses about tire strength, suspension condition, and alignment issues. Wear on only the inner or outer edges of the tires may indicate a camber adjustment problem. An issue with the toe adjustment is also indicated by feathering or scalloping of the straps. During a repair, a mechanic will normally detect tire wear when conducting a tire rotation or inspection. Since proper alignment will significantly prolong the life of your tires, you should have your vehicle aligned if you notice unusual wear patterns.
4. When Driving, The Steering Feels Sloppy.
Weak wheel alignment may be one of the causes of your car's steering feeling loose or unstable. This can feel like the car is wandering down the lane, or it can feel really loose and untidy around the corners. If you have any of these signs, have your alignment tested and, if possible, corrected.
5. The Steering Wheel Will Not Return To Its Original Position.
When driving, the steering wheel should automatically return to the center after completing a turn. Of course, keeping your hands on the steering wheel will help you get there quicker and keep the car under control, but if your steering wheel isn't even attempting to return to the middle, your alignment is probably off. Have an alignment check performed and, if necessary, full alignment.
Since misalignment of the wheel can impair driving ability and cause premature wear, it's best to have the vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Even if it isn't a safety issue for your car, the money you save from not wearing your tires out too soon can frequently outweigh the expense of the alignment. Both steering and suspension components should be tested once alignment is checked, as worn parts are a common cause of out-of-specification misalignment. You would most likely be happily pleased by the car's niceness after the suspension has been tested and an alignment has been performed.
Bring your car to our auto repair shop today if you need a wheel alignment!