Signs That a Car May Need a Wheel Alignment
Hitting a pothole or roadside debris can cause more than a scare and a thud; it can negatively impact a vehicle's wheel alignment. Poor alignment can cause handling issues, which in turn can affect fuel economy and tire tread. A car that's out of alignment can present a real safety hazard, but many drivers don't know when repairs are needed. In the article below, vehicle owners will learn which signs to look for, along with some basic facts on wheel and tire alignment.
Rapid or Uneven Tire Wear
A tire that wears abnormally may be a sign of poor alignment. Most tire wear stems from improper rotation. However, unlike wear coming from a poor alignment, normal tire tread wear usually affects front tires and it manifests itself as cupping on the exterior edges. If the car is out of alignment, other types of tire tread wear can occur.
Pull in the Steering
If the Wheel doesn't remain level while driving, or if the vehicle pulls to one side, alignment may be to blame. Drivers may need to put forth additional effort to steer right or left, and they may notice the wheel itself moving even if the car is going in a straight line.
According to various sources, keeping a vehicle aligned involves having the wheels' angle adjusted so they are parallel and perpendicular to the road surface. A camera is mounted to each wheel to measure the position of the tires. The average Alignment can cost up to $85, with costs increasing for tougher jobs.
A vehicle should have an alignment every ten thousand miles, although it should only be checked if irregular tread wear or other symptoms are occurring. Common wisdom says that the vehicle should get an alignment with each set of new Tires, but it should happen more often when a vehicle is driven in rough conditions. In any case, the procedure should be done every two years. By knowing which signs to look for, and when maintenance should be done, vehicle owners can keep their cars headed in the right direction.