Cars require a lot of upkeep in order to stay functional and perform to the best of their ability. One area where maintenance is frequently needed is with the tires and the wheels. Obviously, you want to make sure you always keep tires in excellent condition for better safety and performance on the road. Even the best tires, however, aren't going to do you much good if they aren't properly aligned.
A good mechanic can easily spot bad wheel alignment, but you can and should also be on the lookout for it yourself. Fortunately, the signs of improper wheel alignment are usually pretty easy to notice if you know what you're looking for:
That Drifting Feeling
If you're driving down the road and suddenly feel like your vehicle is drifting to the side, improper wheel alignment is probably to blame. That drifting feeling is only going to get more pronounced and more frequent if you ignore it, and it could eventually prove dangerous, causing you to go off the road and lose control of your vehicle.
You can test for drift by attempting to drive as straight as possible. If the steering wheel doesn't move, but your car still drifts from the center, it's definitely time to have your alignment checked.
Tires that Wear Out Unevenly
On a fairly regular basis, you should get down and take a good look at each of your tires. Do this every three months or so, as well as anytime after you've put your car through a lot of wear, such as after a long road trip.
Check your tires for signs of wear and tear, such as showing wire or places where the rubber is thin. If you happen to notice that one or more tires has a lot more wear than the others or that the tires are wearing out in different ways and spots, this probably means that your alignment is off.
When wheels are properly aligned, the tires tend to wear evenly and in the same ways. Fixing the alignment issue will help your tires to wear in the same way and at roughly the same time, leading to a balanced, smoother ride and fewer unpredictable tire problems.
Finally, pay attention for any shaking, bumping, or vibrating in your vehicle. One of the most common indicators of improper wheel alignment is a vibrating steering wheel or a car that seems to hum and rattle with every push of the gas.
The shaking is your vehicle trying to tell you that it's not "in sync" and that it needs some attention; listen to it.
When your wheels are out of balance, your whole car is out of balance, which can lead to excess wear and tear on every part of the vehicle. Don't ignore these signs, and ask your mechanic to check your alignment whenever you go in for any work or routine maintenance.
To learn more, contact a company like D Wells Automotive Service with any questions or concerns you hvae.