Signs Your Wheel Alignment Needs to be Adjusted
Bumps in the road cause the wheels of your vehicle to move up and down on the road surface. This energy gets
transferred into the frame of the car. Without some system that absorbs this energy, the wheels might lose contact
with the road. The suspension of the vehicle keeps the tires from slamming back onto the surface of the road, thus
giving you a smoother drive and allowing safer handling. Learn how to identify the signs that indicate your car needs
a wheel alignment.
What to Watch For
Tire alignment refers to the adjustment of how the tires make contact with the road. When the alignment is off, you
may notice one of these signs:
• Your vehicle pulls to the right or the left
• When driving straight, the steering wheel is off
• The steering wheel vibrates
• Your tires show an uneven tread
• Your vehicle tracks with uneven surfaces or follows
grooves in the road
• In addition, you and your passengers might
experience a very bumpy ride, even on a fairly smooth stretch of highway.
The Importance of Proper Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment is vital not only to a smooth ride, but also to the way your vehicle handles on the open road, when
turning corners, or going around a curve. Your tires depend on proper alignment of the suspension system. No one wants
to replace worn out tires due to premature wear and tear. Making sure the steer-ing and suspension system of your car
or truck is in alignment extends the life of your tires and provides steering stability, even under difficult
Most manufacturers leave the regularity of performing a wheel alignment open to necessity instead of placing it on a
factory maintenance schedule. There’s no real timeline, because there are so many factors that can change the need for
alignment. It’s recommended that when you get new tires you should invest in an alignment to prevent uneven and
premature tire wear. If you have a bad habit of hitting curbs or drive on roads that are riddled with pot holes, you
might want to check the alignment more often than once a year. Our technicians can quickly tell you if an alignment is
needed or have parts that are simply wearing out, accelerating the wear of tires. Schedule an appointment with us to
keep your vehicle handling well on the road.
Why Is a Wheel
It’s no surprise that your vehicle will drive better during rush
hour, weekend cruising, or in daily stop-n-go traffic if all the wheels are pointed in the same
direction. That’s called wheel alignment. If your wheels are out of alignment you may
notice that your car pulls to one side or the other.
Something that you won’t notice right
away, but you will if you keep driving around town when
you’re out of alignment, is that your tires are
wearing unevenly and fairly quickly. That’s because when the
vehicle is pulling to one side, you have to steer it back
straight. The outside of the tire just wears out fast because
you’re constantly turning, which can be very exhausting on a
road trip – fighting to keep the vehicle
going straight down the road.
Some of the things that commonly throw a wheel out of
alignment are slamming into a pothole, smacking a curb or something like a rock. And it
doesn’t have to be a big shock, it can just be the regular bumps
and bangs of daily driving that add up and eventually take your
vehicle out of alignment. That’s why one of our advisors
suggest having your alignment checked periodically.
With an alignment service, we measure each wheel’s alignment
and to see where they are relative to factory specifications.
While we have the vehicle on the alignment rack, we inspect the
tires for wear as well as the suspension and steering components
for damage or wear – things that can contribute to
alignment problems. With some sedans you can adjust all
four wheels so we bring all wheels into alignment. On those
vehicles where you can only adjust the front wheels, we bring the
front into alignment relative to the rear.
Cost varies by whether or not it’s two or
four wheel adjustable. Four-wheel drive vehicles may have an
additional charge because they’re more difficult to align. At any
rate, it’s cheaper than having to replace tires every few months.
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your
wheels aligned, there are several ways to schedule an appointment
for service and/or repair with us;
How important is wheel alignment?
of it this way: Research indicates that the average vehicle is
driven about 12,000 miles per year. A car with a toe angle
misadjustment of 0.34 degrees (only 0.17 inches) out of
specification will drag the tires sideways for more than 68 miles
by the end of the year!
What are the “symptoms” of a vehicle with incorrect alignment?
Have your vehicle checked if you notice:
Excessive or uneven tire wear.
The vehicle pulls to the left or right.
Feeling of looseness or wandering.
Steering wheel vibration or shimmy.
Steering wheel is not centered when the vehicle is moving straight
How often should I have my vehicle aligned?
Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation noted in your
owner’s manual. As a general rule, have your wheel alignment
checked every 10,000 miles or at least once a year.