Misaligned tires can decrease your fuel efficiency and cause you to have to replace your tires sooner. Stay on top of tire maintenance by having your mechanic test drive your auto each time you get an oil change, and consider the issues below as possible indications that you need an alignment.
1. If You’ve Had an Accident
Even a small collision can knock your alignment out of whack. If you recently had a fender bender or hit a substantial pothole and afterwards you noticed the car was not steering correctly, an alignment check could be the remedy.
2. If Your Tires Are Unevenly Worn
One of the biggest indicators of an alignment issue comes from uneven treadwear on the tires. To figure out if that is your car’s problem, simply run your hands along the edge of the tires where the hills and valleys are, and then do the same thing on the other side of the tire. If the two sides are not worn evenly and you rotate the tires as recommended every 8,000 miles, you should probably get your alignment checked.
3. If Your Car Pulls to the Right or Left
Take your car on a drive down a straight and deserted road. Release the wheel while keeping your hands close in case you need to gain control quickly. If the car pulls to one side, you may need an alignment, or it could be a bent wheel axle. On the other hand, if the second you let go of the wheel the car jolts and takes off like a speed racer and you have to use all your strength to regain control and get it back on course, you need to see a mechanic right away.
4. If Your Car Sports a Crooked Logo
A telltale sign that your alignment is off is when you drive on a straight trajectory and the emblem on your steering wheel is crooked. In other words, if you have to turn and hold the wheel to one side for the car to go straight, that’s most likely an alignment problem.
5. If You Notice Vibrations
If your steering wheel shakes excessively while you’re driving, you should have your alignment checked. When the wheels are off balance, the car has to struggle constantly to follow its driver’s instructions. This can lead to wear and tear on parts of your engine if you don’t address it.
Ways to assure good alignment include driving carefully and avoiding potholes. Also, be sure to rotate your tires and balance them every 8,000 miles. Check your tire pressure every time you fill up your tank. Taking these precautions will not only save you money in the short run, but they will extend the life of your vehicle. Alignment costs vary depending on whether you need front-wheel alignment or all-wheel alignment. The minimal costs of an alignment job could save you hundreds of dollars in unnecessary wear on your vehicle.