Signs Your Vehicle Needs A Wheel Alignment

Suppose you are driving down the road and notice your vehicle pulling to one side or driving differently than usual. In that case, it's possible your car needs its wheel alignment adjusted. 

Proper wheel alignment is essential for both quality vehicle performance and safety. In addition, adequate wheel alignment helps extend the life of your car's tires.

Your vehicle's wheel alignment should be checked each time its tires are rotated, and anytime you notice one of the following signs of wheel misalignment.

You Feel Vibration in the Steering Wheel

If the steering wheel vibrates while driving down the road, this can be caused by either wheel alignment problems or tire balance issues.

Often steering wheel vibrations are caused by a tire that's out of balance, but occasionally you will feel vibration when the front tires are out of alignment.

When you bring your car into the tire center, ask to have both the wheel alignment and balance checked.

The Car Pulls to One Side When Driving on Flat Surfaces

Your car should stay in the middle of the lane when driving down the highway on a flat roadway. If you feel your car pulling to the left or the right, even on flat roads, this is a big sign of a problem with the wheel alignment.

Your Car is Dog-Tracking

Dog-tracking is a condition where your car always feels like you need to turn it slightly in one direction or the other while driving down a straight road. It gets its name from circular dog racing tracks requiring the race dog to continually turn in one direction while racing.

Since dog-tracking alters your vehicle's performance, it damages the outside of the tires and reduces fuel economy.

Abnormal Tire Tread Wear

The treads on your vehicle's tires should all wear at the same rate. If you notice two of the tires abnormally wearing on the inside or outside edge, this clearly indicates an alignment problem.

You Hit a Curb or Other Obstruction

Finally, even if your car doesn't feel like it has an alignment problem, you should have the alignment checked if you hit a curb or other obstruction.

Hitting a curb at a low rate of speed should not affect your car's wheel alignment. However, if you hit a curb or other obstruction at a high rate of speed, then this could knock your wheel out of alignment.

If you hit a curb or notice any other symptoms listed above, professionally evaluating your car's alignment is warranted.