If you own a car, then you know the importance of routine oil changes and maintenance. But did you know that tire alignment is just as important? Proper tire alignment is crucial to the safety of both you and your car. It also affects gas mileage, tread, and driving patterns.
If you do not know the last time you had your tires aligned, it is probably time to get them done. Even if they were aligned recently, be on the lookout for these five signs your tires need to be aligned:
1. Unusual or Uneven Wear
The wear and tear on your tires should be similar on all four tires. When you drive, all of the tires work together to turn, which creates an even wear. If you notice that the wear and tear on your tires is odd or strikingly different, you probably have an alignment issue.
When you drive your vehicle, it should drive smoothly. Your car should not pull to one side or the other. If you notice that your car pulls to one side, or that you need a heavy hand to keep the car in line, you probably have an alignment issue.
If you do not notice pulling, you may still have an alignment issue. To test if you have a problem, drive slow and straight, and let go of the wheel. If the car pulls slightly to one side, you do have an alignment issue—although it may be smaller.
3. Odd Noises or Vibration
Your car should never make odd noises or vibrate when you are driving it. Squealing or unusual noises when turning may be indicative of an alignment problem. Wheels rubbing up against something in your car usually cause the noises. You might also notice a mild or severe vibration when turning, which is also a sign of an alignment issue.
4. Off-Center Steering Wheel
Another way you can tell if you have an alignment issue is by looking at the steering wheel. When you are driving straight, the logo of the steering wheel should be in the center. If it is off-center, even by a small amount, then you have an alignment problem. However, it might also be indicative of a problem within the steering components in your vehicle.
5. Turning Issues
Finally, you might experience turning issues because of poor alignment. When you turn your vehicle, the steering wheel should automatically return to the center shortly after the turn. If you notice that the steering wheel does not return to the center, you might have a problem. You might also have a problem if the steering feels loose or tight when you turn the car.
Driving around with poor tire alignment is costly and potentially dangerous. If you notice any of these signs, get your car to an auto center like Alaska Chevron Service, immediately for a tire alignment.