Determining When You Need an Alignment
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated March 29, 2012)
What many people don't really understand about alignments is that it doesn't really refer to the wheels of your car. Rather it is a term that refers to the suspension of your vehicle. This suspension is what helps ensure that your vehicle is going in the direction that you want it to. But periodically, there will come a time when this alignment get's out of whack and ends up affecting the way that your vehicle responds. Determining when you need an alignment change or job isn't all that difficult. In fact, there are usually a few indicators that will tell you when you should have it looked at. Basically if you start noticing more than one of these problems all at the same time then you need to get your alignment looked at. However, if you find even one, then you probably should get your alignment looked at.
- Excessive vibration. A very common indicator that there could be a problem with your alignment is that you begin to feel some excessive vibration when you drive. This vibration is usually felt in the wheels as well as in the steering wheel. It can often get so bad that it feels like the steering wheel is trying to jump out of your hands. The minute you begin
- Steering wheel isn't centered. A pretty good indicator that something may not be quite right with your alignment is if you notice the steering wheel isn't centered while you drive straight. Basically, if you are having to compensate by excessively turning the steering wheel in one direction or another to ensure that you drive straight, then that means you really should have your alignment looked at.
- You drift. If you notice that your vehicle tends to drift in one direction or another when you have the wheel straight and you let go briefly, then you may have a problem. The more pronounced the drift, then the more pronounced the problem. Often this problem can go hand in hand with your steering wheel not being centered.
- Your tire tread is off. You should be periodically checking the tread of your tires for wear and tear already. In a car or truck that doesn't have any alignment problem then the wear and tear will be roughly the same and evenly distributed. However, for a vehicle that is experiencing some kind of a problem then you will notice that the wear is definitely off. This is usually seen if side of the tires look to be more bare or thinner than the others.
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