Have you ever been driving down a straight highway, but find yourself battling to keep your car from drifting to one side? How about replacing tires like they were a pair of socks? These are just a few signs that you aren’t going crazy, you just need a wheel alignment on your car. An alignment is necessary from simply normal daily driving.
How To Know When You Need a Wheel Alignment On Your Car
Even small curb bumps or an unexpected pothole can throw your wheels out of alignment. Let’s have a look at how to know when you need a wheel alignment on your car.
Poor wheel alignment can make your steering feel loose and even unstable. For example, you may notice much more give in the steering wheel to make a turn. Likewise, just keeping the vehicle on a straight path may keep you busy. If this vehicle is your daily driver, it will be easy to tell if your steering is loose. Many describe the feeling like the vehicle “wandering.” If you feel any looseness or slack in your steering column, it is time to get your alignment checked.
Wearing in your tires
So much can be said about wear patterns on your tires. Mechanics use them as a type of road map to better understand alignment issues, suspension issues, and tire pressure adjustments. If you have a wheel alignment issue, you will notice wear on only the inside or outside edges of your tires. More significant wear such as feathering or scalloping of the tires means you should get your car into a mechanic right away.
Steering wheel does not recenter
After making a turn, your steering wheel should return to a natural “rest point.” The easiest way to know is by looking at the emblem on the center of the steering wheel. The off-center steering wheel can do more than just be an annoyance, it will affect fuel efficiency and even be a safety issue. Remember, if the Toyota logo looks like a confused dog with his head cocked to one side, then your car needs an alignment.
(Not so) good vibrations
If you require a wheel alignment on your car, one of the most annoying symptoms you will notice is a vibrating steering wheel. This is usually caused by a more significant impact. A pothole or getting bumped in the parking lot can throw your wheels out of alignment. Many often do not see any evidence of impact, but as they leave a parking lot, it feels as if they are driving on a gravel road. A shaking and rattling steering wheel is not only annoying; it can be dangerous. Make sure your next stop is at your mechanic for a wheel alignment on your vehicle.
Drifting and pulling
There are actually a couple versions of pulling. The first is a sharp pull in one direction. If you notice a pronounced sharp pull, the first thing to do is check your tire pressure. If your tire pressure is where it should be, then it is time for an alignment. The second version is a slight pulling sensation. Slight pulling is more subtle than the sharp pull described above. This pull feels more like a drift to one side or the other. Find a straight road and see how your vehicle drifts with minimal input on the steering wheel. If you are finding your car has a mind of its own, then you guessed it! Time for an alignment. While having a car that drifts or pulls can seem more like an annoyance, keep in mind it can actually be dangerous. Get to your mechanic ASAP.
Dave & Rays Automotive Repair Shop in Omaha, NE
Our team has learned one thing: automotive problems are as varied and unique as the customers who bring them to us. Fortunately, our decades of experience in auto service and repair also mean that our skilled network of professionals is ready to accommodate an impressive scope of automotive issues. Contact us today.
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