5 Warning Signs It’s Time for a Wheel Alignment

man in his blue uniform working on wheel alignment on a vehicle
Wheel alignment for SUV in professional workshop. Modern auto service with high-level maintenance

Wheel alignment is integral in taking care of your vehicle. Badly maintained wheels are one of the major preventable causes of car accidents, with some estimates putting the annual injury count at close to 20,000 a year in the US alone. And while many of these accidents are the result of tire blowouts or a sudden loss of grip. Tracing back to poor alignment could be an underlying issue too.

Impaired handling, tires are put under stress and strains that are they are not designed to handle when the wheels are not in the correct position.

Eventually, an accident is inevitable if nothing is done. How do you know if your car has this problem? Here are five warning signs that tell you it’s time to get the wheel alignment checked out by a qualified mechanic.

1) Unreliable Handling

If your car has trouble staying on the straight and narrow and tends to respond sluggishly when you turn the steering wheel, then poor alignment may be dragging the vehicle out of line. Also, you may notice that turning in one direction is easier than the other, which shows that poorly aligned wheels are pushing your car off your intended path.

2) Squealing Tires

A tire that’s gripping well on the road shouldn’t make any strange noises. If you hear squealing or screeching when driving straight ahead without stepping on the brakes, it’s a sure sign that the tire isn’t making full contact with the pavement. Not only does this reduce your control over the vehicle, but it promotes faster, more uneven wear on the tires and increases the risk of a blowout.

3) Tire Wear Problems

Even without the squealing issue, you may see signs of uneven wear on your tires. You will notice this with one side losing tread more quickly than the other. There is uneven wear and that’s norma normal but this could also be the cause of uneven wheel alignment.

4) Struggling With the Wheel

The steering wheel should come back into its natural position once you’ve completed a turn. If you find you’re always struggling against the wheel, pulling it back to its center and trying to keep it there, you should have the wheel alignment checked.

5) Sideways Drag

Lastly, if you don’t move the steering wheel the car should mainly keep going in the right direction. But if you find there’s a persistent drift to one side, your wheels probably aren’t pointing true. Don’t be tempted to test this out by letting go of the steering wheel and seeing what happens. But if it’s becoming an increasing struggle to drive straight ahead, it’s time to book an inspection.

If you spot any of these issues, it’s best to have a good mechanic check your car for a wheel alignment. With all the tires pointing in the correct direction, your car will be safer and more pleasant to drive. This will make the wheels and the last longer. Don’t wait for problems to arise; have your wheels checked now. Of course, if you are planning to ship your car, here are some car shipping reviews you need to remember after your wheel alignment!

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