If you drive over potholes or drive through deep water with your vehicle, you might notice that your steering wheel isn’t as tight as it once was. If this occurs, you’ll need to have your wheel alignment and wheel balancing checked by a professional auto mechanic before you continue driving with your vehicle. Otherwise, your wheels will suffer long-term damage from being out of alignment or being out of balance. In addition to taking care of these issues with your car, it’s also important to note the signs that indicate that you need a wheel alignment and balancing at all.
What is a Wheel Alignment?
Alignments are performed on all types of vehicles, whether they’re front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, cars, trucks, or anything else. Regardless of your vehicle type and/or size, wheel alignment is important. When you hit potholes or experience uneven tire wear (which is usually accompanied by grooves in your tires), it’s probably time for an alignment. Just because you have two new tires doesn’t mean that your alignment needs to be updated. And sometimes when people think they need an alignment because their steering wheel seems slightly off-center, it may just need adjusting instead of major work.
A wheel alignment is designed to ensure that your car is driving straight down the road. If you’re noticing unexpected issues with driving, such as pulling or drifting, then it’s time for an alignment. Some other signs that your wheels are misaligned include squealing tires and uneven tread wear. To save money on tire replacements, try taking care of your tires before they’re completely worn out by scheduling regular wheel alignments every 10k-15k miles.
What is Wheel Balancing?
Most of us don’t think much about our wheels, but it’s important that they are properly balanced for safe and efficient driving. Without proper balance, your tires can be susceptible to irregular wear, vibration, and cracking due to impact. This is called wheel imbalance—when one part of your wheel is rotating faster than another—and needs to be corrected for safe operation. To determine whether you need wheel balancing, look at your tire treads. If you see an obvious gap in tread depth, then most likely, there is an issue with the balance that needs correcting. Another potential sign is regular vibrations when driving over pavement joints or cracks in the road, although these issues could also indicate deeper problems with your suspension system that need additional maintenance.
Signs That Your Car Needs a Wheel Alignment
It’s simple, really. Are your tires wearing unevenly? Is there some play in one of your wheels that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Have you noticed your car feels like it isn’t driving straight anymore? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then it’s probably time for an alignment. On average, most tires will last somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 miles before needing an alignment. Improper wheel installation is often responsible for premature wear.
Signs That Your Car Needs a Wheel Balancing
If you can feel vibrations when you’re driving, your wheels might be out of balance. Other signs that you need to take your car in for wheel balancing include uneven tread wear on your tires and sounds coming from under your car. Additionally, if all four of your tires are wearing out unevenly, it could be due to an imbalance. If you notice any of these signs at any point in time, it’s best to get them checked out by a professional, so they don’t turn into bigger problems down the road.
Many factors can affect wheel alignment, but in general, it means that your wheels are not aligned in relation to one another. For example, maybe your front right tire is pulling toward your front left wheel. This problem can often be fixed by re-aligning your wheels using specialized equipment. However, sometimes you will need to get new tires because they are worn down and therefore misaligned. The best way to fix any wheel alignment issues is to take your car into an auto shop for them to inspect it. As usual, taking good care of your car through regular maintenance will ensure that the vehicle serves you better for a longer time.