Paying attention to car maintenance is more important than we think. Without correct vehicle care, we could end up spending more money on larger problems down the road or endangering ourselves on our daily commutes. While oil changes and brakes checks are standard maintenance procedures, we often forget that things such as wheel alignment are equally important.
Improper alignment severely affects safety and your wallet. Read up on these signs it’s time for a wheel alignment to determine if you should take your car into the shop soon.
A Shaky Wheel
Does your steering wheel often feel like it’s vibrating when you drive? This is a definite sign it’s time for a wheel alignment. Vibrations occur when at least two wheels are off-center, pointing in separate directions and pulling your vehicle in both directions. This could eventually result in your entire car shaking.
Uneven or Rapid Tire Tread Wear
Always check your tires for proper inflation. Make sure there are no punctures, and also remember to check for even tire tread. If one tire on the same axle isn’t wearing evenly, your wheel alignment is often the problem.
Drifting or Pulling
If your vehicle doesn’t drive in a straight line, this likely means one of your tires isn’t in alignment with the rest. It may be a very subtle pull, so pay extra attention to the path your car drives to determine if pulling or drifting is occurring.
Consider testing this in a large, empty parking lot. While driving very slowly, ease up on your grip of the steering wheel. If your tires aren’t in alignment, your wheel will steer you slightly to the left or right.
A Crooked Steering Wheel
If you’re driving straight, but your steering wheel appears to be crooked, your alignment is off. When your wheels are in alignment, your steering wheel should also be centered. This often occurrence in tandem with the drifting and pulling phenomenon discussed above.
Poor Fuel Efficiency
How often do you find yourself stopping for gas? Needing to stop for gas often is a sign that your tires need an alignment. Improper alignments can significantly reduce your gas mileage. Additionally, improper alignments cause uneven wear, as previously mentioned, which can reduce fuel efficiency even more so.
Your vehicle’s wheel alignment will keep your car in shape and yourself safe, all while saving you money on future repairs and gas mileage. Watch out for these four signs you need a wheel alignment.