The signs of bad wheel alignment on your car:
When you struggle to keep the car straight, you must take it to a servicing center to check the wheels. A wheel issue tends to make a vehicle veer into one direction on a flat road. To be sure, take your hands off the steering on an empty road and see if it drifts to the left or right direction a little.
All the tires have an average lifespan, and they tend to wear off after that period. However, the signs are different when it sprouts from bad wheel alignment. Usually, the tread thins out because of lack of tire rotation. In such cases, you'll see cupping on the outside edges of the front tires. On the other hand, if the alignment is off track, you may see excessive wear on both the outside and inside edges.
Both the conditions are risky, especially when you are driving on a busy street or a road full of curves. It could be a problem with suspension components if you feel the wheels are loose or not holding up tightly while making a turn. However, bad wheel alignment is the culprit in most cases. Similarly, the same thing could be the reason of hard steering.
The wheel alignment cause a vibration when it's off balance. It mostly happens when the car hits a pot hole or bumps into something and knocks out the wheels of their position. However, the shaking could be the repercussion of many other serious problems such as warped brake rotors, damaged suspension components, and misaligned tires.
Bad alignment noise will warn you about displaced wheels. So, you should pay attention when your vehicle is making creaking, knocking, or squeaking sound. Although issues with suspension and loose or damaged components can be the reasons of strange noises coming underneath a vehicle, bad wheel alignment could be another potential cause.
Understanding the importance of wheel alignment
Cars need proper wheel alignment for a balanced ride, longer tire life, and improved mileage. But what is wheel alignment, anyway?
Wheel alignment technically means the adjustment of the suspension components holding the wheels, not the adjustment of the wheels/tires themselves. That said, there are a few easy ways to tell when your car has misaligned wheels. Keep in mind that this article focuses on the front wheels.
First, examine your tires if they have uneven wearing on the treads. From there, observe these signs when driving: an off-center steering wheel direction when driving on a straight path, unusual steering wheel vibration, and the vehicle pulling over to one side. You should also keep an eye out for a sudden inefficiency in fuel economy. When you notice these signs, take your car to the nearest service shop and have it checked.
But before you do, it's best to educate yourself with at least the basics of wheel alignment. That way, you'll be able to promote service trust and avoid potential fraud. Here are some of the things to know and discuss with your professional mechanic.
Alignment is based on tire angles, which go hand-in-hand with vehicle chassis height. If you have too much weight loading down your back end, that lowers your vehicle height, throwing off weight or rearranging weight will improve your alignment. You can also remove what you don't need, and don't forget to have your alignment checked by the garage after that since your alignment can't adjust itself.
Even and balanced air pressure in all four tires have an effect on the height of 4 points of undercarriage that connect to four wheel. For example, a car tire with low air pressure will got lower chassis height at one of four corner. This is one of the reason why you feel something is not right when steering.