The wheel is an important part of any vehicle, and it often needs a lot of maintenance. Common and almost necessary maintenance is the wheel alignment and you need to carry out your wheel alignment as soon as you see signs of poor alignment. You can also follow the recommended time that comes with your vehicle manual.
Cars or vehicles are one of the greatest parts of technology that we’re enjoying today. Among all the numerous forms of transportation, vehicles like cars and other four-wheeled vehicles remain the most prominent form of transport around the world.
It is safe to say that the larger percentage of the population has at one point or the other come in contact with a car whether they own one or are around one. One thing about all this technology is their need for constant maintenance.
For those wondering how often should you get an alignment, we’ll show you what you need to know regarding this topic below.
What is a Wheel Alignment?
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about wheel alignments and getting the wheel of your vehicles aligned. However, what exactly is wheel alignment and why is it important for you to get one done?
Wheel alignment simply refers to changing the angle of your wheels to meet the recommended angle that comes from your manufacturers. The wheel of your car is not just placed at random angles and spots to support the weight of your car, there is also an alignment system that ensures your tires are moving straight.
The wheel alignment aims to ensure that your tires are moving straight and in the right direction. Proper alignment is not done at random, and it requires professional handling or expertise.
Most times, when you notice wear in your tires, this is largely due to poor wheel alignment. Several other signs indicate when your alignment has gone bad, and we’ll be looking at them later in the article.
When aligning your wheel, a lot of angles and factors are taken into consideration, even the road that you drive on is a factor to consider. It is not required to align your wheels to your vehicle’s specification, and you can adjust it to suit your taste like in race cars.
The important thing to remember when getting your wheels aligned is that it can not be done by just anybody and it requires professional skill and tools.
How Often Should You Get an Alignment?
The big question is how often you need to get an alignment and while there is a timeframe you can adhere to most of the time, this is not always the case. There is no specific answer to when to get a wheel alignment.
Most experts recommend that you check your tire alignment after a two or three-year interval but that is not the protocol for all vehicles. All cars are not made by the same manufacturers and their parts also vary to a large degree.
Each manufacturer includes their suggestion or recommendation of how often you need to check the wheel alignment of your car. You can check your car manual for information on when to get your alignment adjusted.
However, if you feel you can’t wait for the time specified by your manufacturer, there are other ways that you can check if your car needs alignment.
One way is by looking out for certain signs. The great thing about automobiles is they always give out signs when something is wrong or adjustments are needed. The same thing goes for your wheel alignment system.
Once your alignment starts going off-balance there are some signs that your car will start giving off and you you can quickly realize that your alignment is off. Let’s look at some of these signs of misalignment.
Signs of a Faulty Alignment
If your car is out of alignment, you are likely to experience one or more of these symptoms. At the sign of any of these, you are advised to take your vehicle to a trusted expert to have your alignment checked and adjusted if the need be.
The first and most obvious sign of a faulty tire alignment is a sharp pull while driving. If you’ve experienced this before, you will know that your car tends to pull to one side all of a sudden.
When the sharp pulling occurs, it feels like your steering wheel is trying to change direction on its own. You should know that flat tires can also be a cause of sharp pulling. However, if after you’ve properly inflated your tires you still experience this sharp pulling, then you might need to have your wheel alignment checked.
Drifting is another sign of poor alignment but it is not as obvious as sharp pulling. Drifting is more of a milder form of pulling and you can easily determine if your car is drifting.
A properly aligned set of wheels is at angles so that your tires are straight in relation to the ground, so if your car keeps changing direction even slightly then your alignment is off. You can test this in a parking lot – put your car in drive and take your hands off the steering wheel to test whether your car drives straight or not.
If your car moves in a straight line, your alignment is fine. On the other hand, if your car starts changing direction even slightly, then it indicates a need to check your alignment.
This is another common sign of poor alignment, although some other reasons can also cause your steering wheel to vibrate. Still, if you feel your steering wheel vibrating in your hands, it can be a sign of faulty tires or poor alignment. Ensure that you have both the tires and alignment checked if the vibration occurs.
Your tire is the best indicator of poor alignment. The tire is the part of your car that suffers most from poor alignment, and it serves as a good indicator.
It is normal for your tires to wear out due to friction from rough roads, however, it is expected that your tires wear out evenly. If you notice that some parts of your tires are more worn out than the rest, then it indicates alignment issues.
Correcting a faulty alignment should be given priority and it should be corrected as soon as it is noticed. Leaving a faulty alignment for too long can further damage other parts of your wheel and steering components. How often should you get a wheel alignment depends on your manufacturer’s instruction and also the signs your vehicle gives you.
Depending on the type of vehicle, you might need a rear wheel alignment, front-end alignment, or four-wheel alignment service. You must take your car to an expert for your alignment check.
Your car is an important part of your life and you need all the information you can get on how to take proper care of your car.