Did you know that if your car’s wheels are just an eighth of an inch (3.175mm) out of alignment, your tires can experience an additional 20% of wear? Alignment issues can not only reduce the lifespan of your tires, but they can also lead to other problems, such as increased fuel consumption and poor handling.
As such, catching alignment issues early can save you time, money, and a whole lot of frustration. In this quick guide, we’ll show you how to spot those sneaky problems before they become a full-blown car calamity, leaving you stranded on the side of the road.
Uneven Tire Wear
Check your tires for signs of uneven wear. Excessive wear on the inner or outer edges of the tires, or uneven wear patterns across the tread, indicate alignment problems, particularly if the tires are fairly new.
Also, look for cupping, which is a repeated pattern of bumps across the tread. This indicates that your car is out of alignment and that your shock absorbers may need to be replaced.
The Steering Wheel Is Off-Center
When driving on a straight road, pay attention to the position of your steering wheel. If it’s not centered and is shifted slightly to one side, it suggests an alignment issue. You can also test this out by driving in a straight line and letting go of the wheel. If your car veers to one side, it’s likely that you have an alignment problem.
Vibrations and Shimmying
Have you noticed any vibrations or shaking throughout the steering wheel, floorboards, or dashboard while driving? Such vibrations are often subtle at slow speeds and become more noticeable at higher speeds, usually over 55 mph. If this is happening, it’s likely that your car is out of alignment and needs urgent attention.
Pulling and Drifting
This is another surefire sign of a misalignment issue. You may notice your car pulling to one side or the other while driving in a straight line. You may also feel the car drifting from side to side on its own without your input, and the steering wheel may feel heavy, causing you to correct the wheel more than usual. This can lead to an accident, so it’s important to have a mechanic check your car out right away for any underlying issues.
Suspicious Suspension Noise
Wheel misalignment can put additional stress on the suspension system, leading to squeaks, creaks, or other abnormal noises when driving over bumps or uneven surfaces. These noises often indicate an alignment issue and can also suggest other potential problems with your vehicle’s suspension, such as worn-out shock absorbers, worn ball joints, or even a damaged wheel bearing.
Take Care of Your Car for a Safer Ride
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, it’s best to take your car to a mechanic immediately for an inspection. A wheel alignment is a cheap and simple fix, but it’s essential for maintaining your car’s safety and performance. All it takes is a few minutes of your time to get it done, and you can be sure that your vehicle will be in good shape for many miles to come.
Let Us Help You Keep Your Car Looking Great
At Anderson Auto Body and Paint, we are dedicated to providing quality autobody and paint service to keep your vehicle looking and performing its best. Our knowledgeable technicians can handle bumper repair, auto glass replacement, dent repair, custom color matching, and unibody repairs.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment, and we’ll help you get the most out of your car.