Tips

What Are the Things That Knock My Wheels Out of Alignment?

A few blog posts back we gave you the signs to look for so you know that your wheels are out of alignment. How do they get out of alignment in the first place? That’s what this blog post is for. There are four primary causes of wheel alignment mishaps. Checkpoint Motors lists them below so you can, hopefully, avoid them. We understand that you can’t sometimes, which is why it’s a good idea to have your tires rotated and your wheels balanced and aligned regularly.

Hitting Curbs

Every time you hit a curb, whether when you’re parallel parking or turning a corner, you jolt the wheel or wheels that make contact with that curb. If you hit the curb hard enough, you can knock the wheel(s) out of alignment right away. Otherwise, your wheels will slowly become misaligned each time you tap a curb or drive over it. Try to be careful around curbs to avoid knocking your wheel(s) out of alignment. Turn slowly and use all your visual resources when parallel parking.

Flying Over Speed Bumps

It might seem like a blast to see how fast you can drive over speed bumps but these bumps are installed to cause serious damage to your suspension if you do. General recommendations say you shouldn’t drive faster than 5 mph over a speed bump, but we recommend you go even slower, especially if the bump is a high one. Hitting speed bumps, or bumps in the road for that matter, at high speeds can knock your wheels out of alignment and damage your vehicle’s suspension. 

Speeding Over Potholes

The same holds true for potholes. Your vehicle’s suspension is designed to absorb shocks in the road but potholes are an entirely different ballgame. These holes, even minor ones, give your wheels a jolt when they enter the hole, drive through it, and then drive out of it. In a matter of something as quick as a second, you could knock your wheels out of alignment, blow a tire, and ruin your suspension. It doesn’t take a pothole the size of the Grand Canyon, either, to do it.

Ignoring Wheel Maintenance

Finally, preventative maintenance schedules include your wheels because they need to be balanced and aligned regularly. It’s a good rule of thumb to balance your wheels when you get your tires rotated. This allows technicians to make sure the wheels are balanced after the adjustment. Wheel alignment should be done each time you have a new set of tires put on your vehicle and every two or three years after that depending on how many miles you put on your wheels annually.

Checkpoint Motors is located in Oregon City, OR, and we can balance and align your wheels. Set up an appointment by calling us 503-974-3302.

Photo by JariJ from Getty Images