Tips

How Can I Tell if My Wheels Are Out of Alignment?

Wheel alignment can reduce or extend the life of your tires. If your wheels are out of alignment, your tire tread will wear down unevenly. If you keep your wheels aligned, you’ll get more life out of the tire tread. You should have your wheels aligned every two to three years unless you knock the wheels out of alignment yourself. How can you tell if your wheels are out of alignment? Checkpoint Motors recommends you look for the following signs.

Did You Say Unless I Knock My Wheels Out of Alignment?

Yes, there are ways you can knock your vehicle’s wheels out of alignment. If you hit a curb hard once or run into them frequently, are in an automobile accident, go over speed bumps too fast, or challenge potholes to take out your car, truck, or SUV, you are misaligning your wheels. Many people knock their wheels out of alignment, which is why we check your vehicle’s alignment when we rotate and balance your tires. It’s common. We all hit curbs without meaning to.

Signs Your Wheels Are Misaligned

Initially, the signs of misaligned wheels may be subtle. It could be that the wheels are slowly misaligning themselves over time. You may also notice sudden signs if you run over a bump or something unintentionally while driving too fast. Your wheels are misaligned if

  • You have to fight to keep your vehicle going straight
  • You have rapid, uneven tire tread wear
  • You have a crooked steering wheel
  • Your tires squeal

To bottom line it: Your vehicle’s suspension is engineered and manufactured to go straight unless you turn your steering wheel to direct it otherwise. Your car, truck, or SUV should not pull to one side or the other nor should your steering be crooked when you are driving straight. If this is the case, your wheels are not properly aligned.

Testing Your Wheels

If you suspect your vehicle might have a wheel alignment problem, head to a flat driving surface, such as an empty parking lot. Make sure the surface is flat. Start driving straight and then let go of your steering wheel while still moving forward. If your vehicle pulls to either side, you need to have your wheels aligned. If it stays straight, your wheel alignment is fine.

If your car, truck, or SUV fails the wheel test, bring it to Checkpoint Motors in Oregon City, OR. Call us to set up a wheel alignment and balance.

Image Credit: kadmy / bigstockphoto.com
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