We often focus so much on the advanced safety features inside our vehicles that we forget the external design aspects that make them safer to drive.
Although the wheels can be very sturdy, driving can become dangerous once these parts are out of alignment.
Tires can become uneven and wear out easily when the wheels are not properly aligned. This can lead to several issues that can become dangerous when neglected.
Fortunately, there are several signs and symptoms of a bad wheel alignment that can help identify when this problem is present.
The modern vehicles that we drive nowadays are made to be precise, with minimal effort required to control them as opposed to how they were many years ago.
But car owners can start to lose control of their vehicles once problems like a bad wheel alignment surface.
Here are the three most common bad wheel alignment symptoms that vehicle owners should know.
Tires can become uneven when the wheels are not aligned properly. Uneven tires not only ramp up the fuel consumption of a vehicle but also reduce the driver’s control over it.
If a tire is observed to be wearing out differently than the others, owners should stop by an auto shop to have it assessed.
Related: How Long Tires Last with Bad Alignment?
Constant Steering Wheel Vibration While Driving
One of the most common bad wheel alignment signs is when the steering wheel starts to constantly vibrate or move left to right while driving. In extreme cases, owners may start to feel their whole vehicle shaking while driving down the road.
Vibrations due to faulty wheel alignment are caused by the tires pulling against one another, in turn bringing the vehicle in different directions.
Another sign that a car is having problems with alignment is when the driver needs to hold the steering wheel at a different angle to drive straight.
This not only feels uncomfortable for the driver but also makes driving much harder.
Even if it is only slightly off to an angle, owners will still feel less control over their vehicle when the steering wheel is off-center.
Bad wheel alignment can be caused by improper driving habits, rough road conditions, or worn-out components within the vehicle.
These are the three most common causes of wheel misalignment:
Although some small bumps may seem irrelevant, hitting them hard enough can result in a misalignment.
Of course, the bigger the impact, the higher the chances of a vehicle’s alignment being put out of position.
Due to the delicate nature of vehicle parts in the suspension system, these components can be susceptible to damage if the driver consistently hits potholes or curbs.
Furthermore, other parts of the suspension system, such as bushings and joints, will weaken over time. Weak suspension parts make them ineffective in keeping wheels properly aligned.
Although it is impossible to avoid all potholes on the road, trying to go around or slowing down when passing most of them will definitely help.
Likewise, vehicle owners should keep an eye out for curbs while turning or parking as this affects wheel alignment significantly.
It is best to ensure that the tires are maintained properly to prevent the vehicle from bad wheel alignment issues.
Checking and adjusting tire pressure regularly is highly recommended as well as inspecting tires for wear and tread depth.
Driving a car with improper wheel alignment can cause it to experience uneven wear on its tires.
Failing to fix the problem as soon as possible could result in premature wear and tear, eventually making the vehicle unsafe for driving.
Misalignment causes undue stress to the suspension of the vehicle, posing a risk of damaging its vital parts.
Damage to suspension components can lead to costly vehicle repairs in the long term.
A bad wheel alignment can make it difficult to steer when driving at high speeds. This increases the risk of causing an accident.
Tires that are misaligned can easily drag the vehicle sideways, which forces the driver to maintain a hard grip on their steering wheel. Additionally, misalignment can have a huge impact on the handling and braking capability of a vehicle, further compromising one’s safety.
That is why all drivers should monitor their vehicles for bad wheel alignment signs and take the necessary steps to address these problems immediately.
The three primary areas where adjustments are typically made are the camber, caster, and toe.
A single alignment, wherein just one set of wheels are assessed, generally costs around $50 to $100. For full alignment, owners should expect a rate of $150 to $200 at most auto shops.
The symptoms of a bad wheel alignment will be subtle at the start but will get worse the longer they are left alone.
That is why you should address these problems quickly before they cause more damage to the vehicle.
If you believe your vehicle has bad wheel alignment, come visit NOLA Automotive Repairs to have it checked.
NOLA Automotive Repairs has been serving New Orleans clients for nineteen years, making us one of the trusted auto repair shops in The Big Easy.
We offer a variety of services including engine repair, brake jobs, AC repair, and diagnostics.