You may have an alignment problem if your car drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel’s off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn’t feel like it handles right.
When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other object are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.
Driving for an extended time when you’re out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.
At the very least, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.
The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.
Now, let’s talk about some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.
From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is assessed.
If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s centerline. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.
Like most things, your manufacturer has suggested a mileage interval for having your alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that’s given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive. It’s better to have your alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.
Getting your alignment checked when needed is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety.