How to Know You Need a Wheel Alignment

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Wheel alignment is the process of adjusting the angles of the wheels on your vehicle to the specifications of your vehicle manufacturer. When your vehicle was built, the wheels were perfectly positioned to the manufacturer’s ideal specifications, but over time your vehicle loses its alignment. Misalignment issues can lead to serious safety and performance issues and costly repairs. A wheel alignment service will optimize the various angles of your wheels to each other, and to the road. 

Aligning your wheels requires the vehicle to be placed on a wheel alignment machine. This machine uses specific measurements to allow the technician to set and adjust the suspension components back to the factory specifications. The common alignment angles are camber, caster, and toe. These angles become misaligned due to potholes, hitting curbs, speed bumps, being in an accident and other driving hazards. So, how do you know when your vehicle requires a wheel alignment? 

The Most Common Indications Your Vehicle Requires a Wheel Alignment

  • Steering Wheel is Not Straight — If you are driving on a flat straight path, your steering wheel should be straight, centered, and still. Poor alignment will cause your steering wheel to be crooked and off-centered or at an odd angle when driving straight. 
  • Drifting or Pulling — If your vehicle drifts to the left or right while driving straight down a leveled road your alignment is off. 
  • Uneven Tire Wear — A camber adjustment issue will cause excessive tire wear, particularly on the edges of your tires. 
  • Vibration — If your steering wheel vibrates when you are driving, this can be another indication your wheels are out of alignment. 
  • The Vehicle Handling Feels Loose — Your car will be unstable and loose when driving straight and taking turns due to improper wheel alignment. 
  • Vehicle Noise — If you hear squeaking, creaking, knocking or rubbing when you start driving or go around corners, this may be an indication of steering and suspension issues. A wheel alignment will be required after these repairs. 

Experts recommend that wheels need to be aligned after every 10,000 miles. You will require wheel re-alignment sooner depending on your driving conditions or if you’ve had an accident. Everyday driving over constant speed bumps, hitting curbs, or potholes slowly causes your tire angles to change. Incorrect wheel alignment can create drivability and premature wear problems, so it’s best to get the vehicle inspected as soon as you notice any of the indications of wheel alignment issues. Visit our auto repair shop and have our mechanics inspect your wheel alignment, make the necessary adjustments, and keep you and your passengers safe!