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What are the Signs Your Car Needs A Wheel Alignment?

Save your tires and save on gas by getting a proper wheel alignment.
9-2 Wheel Alignment
Credit: Pixabay

Driving down the freeway can be relaxing, the music playing, the windows down and the hair blowing in the wind. The sun is shining on your face it is a great day for a drive. Then you notice that that your car is not driving right. You have to grip the steering wheel a white knuckle stance because the car pulling hard to the left. And if that is not bad enough, Alberta winter driving is no fun! If this happens in the winter time, the fear intensifies. When the car drifts like this, it is time to get a wheel alignment.

What Causes A Misalignment?

One of the main reasons for needing a wheel alignment is hitting pot holes. When a tire sinks and bounces in and out of the hole it can cause a lot of damage. Another reason is hitting curbs. This can be from trying to parallel park or sliding on the ice into the curb. Even a minor collision where there does not appear to be any damage can knock the alignment off. There are some things out of a driver’s control that can lead to a misalignment, such as the vehicle having faulty shocks, struts or other suspension parts, or driving a lifted vehicle.

How Do I Know If I Need an Alignment?

There are some visual cues that your vehicle is due for an alignment. When walking around your car and looking at the tires, if you notice that one tire is wearing out faster than the other or that the tires are wearing out faster than they should, this is a sign of a misalignment.

There are some auditory cues that your tires are not aligned. When driving and there is a squeal from the tires, or in extreme cases a thunk-like noise, have a mechanic check things out.

Other clues include, holding the steering wheel in a turning position in order to keep the car going straight. If you are constantly battling the car to keep it going straight as it pulls to the side, get the alignment checked asap. Also check if there is bumpy feeling while you are driving on a smooth road. If so, book a service appointment.

How Does an Alignment Help?

Getting an alignment at the first sign of trouble, or every 6,000 km, will save you money. A poor alignment can wear your tires out faster and unevenly. As a result, you may have to purchase tires sooner. It also can affect your fuel efficiency (and with the cost of gas who can afford that?). And there is the safety issue; a car can pull you off the road or cause tire issues that make it impossible to drive. You are left stranded on the road waiting for AMA.

For better steering, better fuel mileage and for your safety check your alignment every 6,000 km or at the first sign of trouble. If you do hit a pothole, some cities have money for damage claims that can be accessed. Check with your local municipality to see if there is compensation available.

CPC-logoThis story was made possible by our Community Partners Program. Thank you Davis Chevrolet for helping to expand local news coverage in Alberta. Learn more
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