Wheel Alignment: Understanding the Common Symptoms of Misalignment

Proper maintenance of your wheels and tires is essential for the safety of your vehicle. Moreover, the pertinent servicing practices will improve handling of the vehicle and ensure efficient consumption of fuel. One of the most critical maintenance tasks is wheel alignment. This is the process through which the wheels are reconfigured to make certain that these components are at a right angle to the ground and parallel to each other. Unfortunately, most drivers cannot tell when their wheels fall out of alignment. Here is a short description of the common symptoms of bad wheel alignment.

Vehicle pulling

You will notice your car pulling to one side of the road when driving if your wheels are poorly aligned. This issue is usually noticeable when one is on a level road. In an ideal world, you can check whether your vehicle is pulling to the side by releasing the steering wheel and assessing the movement. Unfortunately, most roads are not perfectly level and have some level of crowning. This will cause the vehicle to compensate and shift to one side. Moreover, it is dangerous to release the steering wheel. You should just evaluate the amount of effort required to keep the vehicle driving smoothly in a straight line. If you can feel a pulling force on either side of the car or a lot of effort is needed, you need a wheel alignment.

Tire wear patterns

The wear patterns on your tires can reveal a lot about the condition of your vehicle; therefore, you should check their state regularly to identify any causes for concern. When the wheels beneath your vehicle are misaligned, they are not normally perpendicularly to the ground. In simple terms, they are not in full contact with the road. For this reason, some parts of the tire will become highly worn in comparison to others. If this problem is not rectified early, you will have to replace your tires due to vehicle instability. For longevity and the best performance, you should consult your mechanic for troubleshooting if you notice unusual wearing of your tire treads.

Steering wheel condition

If you are on a level and flat road, your steering wheel should be completely straight. The emblem of the vehicle should be level when you look at it from your driver's seat. If this is noticeably off-centre, you should have your wheel alignment checked. You should also consult a car service if the steering feels loose and a little unstable.