Wheel alignment is important for safety on the road. Proper wheel alignment also gives you the comfort that any driver should have whilst driving. Unaligned wheels can be caused by many factors including bumping against a curb, hitting a pothole or excess wear to the components.
Firstly, how can you tell if you have unaligned wheels? If the car drifts to one side and you have to steer the wheel in the opposite direction to keep it going in a straight line then you know that you don’t have properly aligned wheels.
There is also a high chance that the reason why your car is pulling to one side is because your tyres might have uneven wear. You might not feel it when you are driving but this could have troublesome consequences in the future.
Deflated tyres could also be a factor as to why your car might be pulling to one side. If one tyre is deflated while the others are sufficiently inflated, it could cause your car to be imbalanced. Firstly, check that all the tyres are properly inflated at the correct pressure.
There is also a possibility that both wheels are facing inwards or outwards. The correct terminology for this concept is toe-in and toe-out. This is usually caused by uneven wear on the tyres causing the tyre to move inwards or outwards.
Every time you take your car for a service, the mechanic makes sure that all four wheels are aligned by using special tools. These tools give accurate readings that allow you to see how badly you may have hit a pothole or how badly your wheel components have been worn.
Furthermore, there is a difference between wheel balancing and wheel alignment. To detect a wheel balancing issue, you will notice that your car vibrates because of the unevenness between the two sides.
Check the wheels as soon as you have hit a bad pothole or drove against a curb. As soon as you hit that pothole or curb you must take the car to a repair centre. The professionals will be able to tell you what other possible damage has been caused as a result.
The answer to the question of how often you should get your wheels aligned is completely up to your driving experience. You shouldn’t have to force the car to go in a straight line. When you notice any of these warning signs, then you should take it for a re-alignment to avoid damage to your wheels and tyres. If you are in doubt, go anyway.