Proper wheel alignment is key to safe happy driving. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most overlooked maintenance checks. The signs and symptoms of poor alignment are easy to detect and at the same time, easy to fix. Here are five signs your vehicle is in need of an alignment.
1) Your steering wheel is off centre
When driving straight on a level road, your steering wheel should be – or be very close – to straight and the vehicle emblem in the centre of the steering wheel should appear level. If the wheel is off centre by more than a few degrees in either direction, it’s definitely time to book an alignment.
2) Your vehicle pulls in one direction
To check to see if your vehicle pulls in one direction, DO NOT remove your hands from the steering wheel, it’s just too dangerous. Instead, when driving down a straight flat road, your vehicle should drive straight ahead with very little effort needed on the steering wheel.
3) Abnormal tire wear in certain spots
Tire wear says a lot about how well your vehicle is driving. When getting your vehicle serviced, the technician can provide details on how and where your tires are wearing. Wear on only the inside or outside edges of tires indicates a camber adjustment problem. Uneven wear patterns, or “scalloping” can indicate a problem with the toe adjustment.
4) The vehicle handling feels loose
If the steering in your car feels loose or unstable, one possible cause is poor wheel alignment. If it feels like your car is wandering all over the road or it feels loose or unstable turning corners, it’s the right time to check your alignment.
5) The steering wheel doesn’t return to centre
After turning a corner, the steering wheel should return to centre on its own as you continue to drive. Of course you need to keep your hands on the wheel, but if your steering wheel makes little attempt to move itself back to centre without your help, then it’s a good indication that your alignment is off.