A lot of the time when we are driving around from here to there, dropping kids off at school, running errands, or driving to work, we can be so focused on other things going on around us that we could easily miss something essential. It might not be until you are driving on the highway, focused only on your driving, that you notice it. The pull. Ever so slowly there goes your car, drifting to the left or the right. But, does this mean you need an alignment? Or are your tires just a little underinflated? Here are three different signs to keep an eye out for to see if you need a wheel alignment.
THE DRIFT OR PULL
If you are driving down a straight flat road and your car is drifting or pulling one way or another, your car could be out of alignment. You could have just hit a deep pothole or a large curb, and that is enough to sometimes throw your wheels out of alignment. First, you’ll want to check your tire pressure. If your tire pressure checks out okay, take it into a mechanic to have the alignment looked at.
Take a look at your tires. Check to see if they have the same wear pattern on the front. Now take a look at the back. If the pattern looks to be the same on all four tires, then your tires should be okay. However, if you are unsure ask your mechanic to look at your tires and check the tread. They will be able to spot possible misalignment issues.
If you are driving and it feels as though your steering wheel is loose or unstable it could be poor alignment. For example, if you take a corner and it feels as though you are having to turn the wheel more than you usually have to or if after taking the turn the wheel doesn’t return to center, it might be a sign that you should take it in to get your alignment looked at.
Now that you know a few things to look for, if you notice any of these symptoms, you need to get your car to a mechanic right away. The longer you put a wheel alignment off, the more serious (and expensive) it can get. When you get your alignment checked, get the steering and suspension checked too. Sometimes worn steering or suspension components are the cause of your car getting out of alignment.
To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to get your alignment checked annually, maybe during one of your trips to the mechanic to get your tires rotated. If you are getting brand new tires, have the alignment checked then so that the new tires wear evenly right from the get-go. With a fresh alignment, you will be pleasantly surprised how great your car drives again.