The vehicle you drive came off of the production line and was delivered to the dealership with a specific wheel alignment that was designed to maintain the maximum driving experience for you. The manufacturer of your vehicle designed the vehicle with the expectation that this alignment is kept. As we all know, wheel alignments can be altered very easily and quickly. Your wheel alignment can be compromised by poorly maintained roads, potholes, by hitting a curb or getting into the smallest of accidents.
Steps to Diagnosing Alignment Problems
Signs that it’s time for a wheel alignment are:
- Pulling to the left and right
- Uneven tire wear
- Rapid tire wear
- Squealing tires (usually when turning around a corner)
- Vibrations in the steering wheel
- Steering wheel is crooked when driving straight
By keeping up with routine check-ups and alignments, you will find that your driving experience will be much better, as will your wallet, by not having to worry about added repairs and replacements that can be avoided.
What will routine wheel alignments do for your vehicle?
- Tire longevity: Proper alignment will minimize tire wear and tear
- Smoother riding
- Keeps tires pointed in the right direction
- Minimizes braking distance
- Maximizes fuel efficiency
Because there is no ‘Need Wheel Alignment Now’ light that illuminates on your dashboard when your alignment has been thrown off, it’s recommended you visit your mechanic or service center for a professional check-up. An unwritten rule that many follow is having your wheels aligned every other oil change. There’s also the idea of getting to your mechanic if you feel something off in your vehicle’s operation.
Minimize the need of getting a wheel alignment:
- Junk in the trunk? The weight of material in your trunk lowers the level of your vehicle, which changes the angle of your wheels.
- Maintain correct air pressure in your tires: Most vehicles have a tire pressure gauge on the dashboard that will illuminate when tire pressure is needed. Frequent tire pressure check-ups could save you a lot of money in repair bills and extend the mileage/lifetime of your tires.
- Drive conservatively: By keeping a less than aggressive profile on the roadways, it will not only keep your wheels aligned correctly, but it will add to the lifetime of your vehicle altogether.
In closing, keep a lookout for the signs that may be telling you that your wheel alignment is off and keep up with the minor maintenance that is sure to make long-lasting differences on the performance of your vehicle. A visit to your mechanic or schedule an appointment at service center may save you much more in the end than having to have your tires completely replaced prematurely.