It’s difficult to drive a misaligned car; you’d struggle more to keep the wheels in your lane, and that could be a lot of hard work. It is advisable to go for wheel alignment whenever you have a crucial repair done on your car.
But then, there are uncertain signs that, when you start noticing them, it means you need to go and re-align your car wheels – you mustn’t wait until a crucial repair is done.
This article explains the various car alignment symptoms you should know; these are basically signs that show your car need to go for wheel alignment.
What is Wheel Alignment?
Regardless of the name “Wheel Alignment,” the service itself isn’t about working on your car tires or wheels. Wheel alignment is an automotive servicing that requires adjusting the positioning of the wheel system – the hub and axles – that connects to your car’s tires.
When you take your car for wheel alignment, the mechanic works on the steering, suspension system, and wheel hubs. These are the major places being touched when you go for wheel alignment. The purpose of alignment is to put your car’s wheel system in the right position.
When your car’s wheel system is not aligned properly, it causes the tires to wear off unevenly or tear due to incoherent contact – of the tires – with the road pavement.
Your car could go out of alignment for quite several reasons, such as road conditions, collisions, overheating in the wheel hub assembly, and fractures dues to excessive friction.
Bad Car Alignment Symptoms | How To Know You Need an Alignment
1. Turbulent Steering Wheel
When you’re driving down a straight road, and the steering wheel seems to be shaking unusually, that could be a sign that you need to go for wheel alignment.
But before making your conclusion, closely monitor the emblem on the center of the wheel; if it looks steady even when the steering wheel seems steady, then you don’t need an alignment, but if it seems to be tilting sideways, you need to go for wheel alignment.
2. Your Car Tilts To One Side While Driving
The commonest sign that tells your car is due for a wheel alignment service is when the car shifts to one side while driving. In essence, you find it difficult to stay in your lane, as the wheels seem to be moving one-sidedly.
To confirm that the shifting of your car is caused by bad alignment, reduce your speed and straighten the steering wheel and remove your hands, then watch if the car would still drive to one side – if it does, wheel alignment is really needed.
3. Excessive Tire Wear Over a Short Period
You changed your car tires recently, and after less than 30k miles, the tires are already worn out? That’s a sign that your vehicle’s wheel system is not properly aligned. More so, if you always hear squealing sounds when driving, it’s advisable to check if your wheels are properly aligned.
Unbalanced or unaligned wheels notably make squealing sounds. Squealing and uneven wear are among the commonest car alignment symptoms.
Types of Car Misalignment
There are three notable car misalignments: camber, caster, and toe alignment. There are conditions to determine which type of alignment a car should get.
Mainly, this ought to be checked by the mechanic; the type of misalignment of your car wheels is what determines the type of alignment that would be done for you. Hence, wheel alignment is best done in an alignment workshop and not to be DIYed, except if you’re an auto mechanic.
How Often Should You Go For Alignment?
There is actually no certain time to go for wheel alignment; however, after driving about 20k miles, it is important to check on your wheels to see if they have gone out of alignment and then have them re-aligned.
Also, if you go through a very rough path or road and have to drive across multiple potholes, it is advisable to go for alignment afterward.
Some drivers go for alignment after taking long off-road trips; there is simply no specific time to get an alignment done for you. It is something you should check for after specific intervals or whenever you experience any of the signs explained above.
Wheel alignment is actually one of the cheapest automotive services to get done for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Potholes Cause Misalignment?
Yeah, potholes are a huge contributor to wheel misalignment. If you drive across paths with multiple potholes, you may need to go for alignment quite frequently. The inconsistencies of driving through potholes can cause misalignment.
What Happens When Your Car Is Out Of Alignment?
The most common scenarios include steering wheel vibration and vehicle shifting to one side, even if you’re driving at low speeds and on a straight path. Other signs that show your car is out of alignment include uneven tire wear and higher fuel consumption.
What Can Ruin An Alignment?
There are many intentional and unintentional actions that can force your car wheels out of alignment. These actions include driving through bumps at top speeds, hitting curbs or kerbs while turning, potholes, poor or failing suspension systems, and driving through road construction sites.
This article clearly explains the common car alignment symptoms every driver needs to know. Once your car is out of alignment, getting it re-aligned as soon as possible is advisable, so you can continue driving smoothly.
Misaligned or unbalanced wheels can make driving really uncomfortable.