3 Signs That You Need a Wheel Alignment
Correct wheel alignment is one of the most critical components of keeping your vehicle running safely. A wheel alignment is one of the most overlooked maintenance items. Wheel alignment is one of the most common and cost-effective fixes that you can perform on your car or truck. In this article, we will go over the 3 most common and easy to spot signs that you may be in need of a wheel alignment.
The wheels on your vehicle can become misaligned very easily. Sudden jarring from running over pot-holes or striking a curb can lead to alignment issues. The wheel assembly can also wear over time and cause some of the symptoms that you will see here.
Wheel Alignment Costs
Before we dive into these symptoms let’s talk wheel alignment cost. A typical wheel alignment at any auto repair shop varies. But typically you should be expecting to pay around $50-$75 dollars for this service. This can double depending on the nature of the wheel alignment. A 2-Wheel alignment costs less than a 4-Wheel alignment. A 4-Wheel alignment should run you about $100-$170. There are also shops that offer lifetime alignment packages that are around $200. Many shops will also recommend a tire rotation at the same time as your alignment. This is good to do especially if there is noticeable wear caused by bad alignment issues. Tire rotation helps to facilitate an even wear pattern on your vehicle. So, looking at the costs and the options that are out there, we can see that wheel alignments are very cheap in comparison.
3 Symptoms of Bad Wheel Alignment:
1. Uneven or Rapid Tire Wear
Tire wear patterns provide you with useful information on the condition of your car. Tire wear patterns and abnormal patterns help us to make a guess as to the condition of your suspension, tire pressures, and alignment problems. When you see wear on the outside edges of your car we can assume that your cambers are out of adjustment. Tire wear to the untrained eye can often be overlooked, causing you to drive for longer periods with poor alignment. Precise and proper alignment can help increase the lifespan of your tires. If you notice tire wear on your vehicle chances are you are in need of an alignment.
2. Steering Wheel is Not Centered
Your steering wheel while driving down a flat road or highway should be at or near-perfectly straight. This may change based upon the pitch of the road. Roads are designed for drainage of moisture some tilt in the wheel is expected. But, if you find that the emblem on your steering wheel is off to one side or the other regardless of what road you are on, chances are you need an alignment. This will help return your steering wheel to the center and help with overall drivability.
3. Your Vehicle is Pulling to One Side or the Other
This goes hand in hand with point number two. Vehicle pull can be noticed mostly when driving down a straight road. There is a common misconception that all vehicles should drive perfectly straight when you take your hands off the steering wheel. This is not only a dangerous practice but not entirely true. because of the pitch on the crown of each road, you are going to experience some slight pull or veering when you take your hands off the wheel (again, a dangerous practice). Ideally, the vehicle should drive straight without major effort to keep the vehicle in your lane. If you find that your vehicle is pulling noticeable to one side or the other it’s time to have your alignment checked.