Safety Tip: Spotting Signs of Misaligned Wheels
VIDEO: Understanding Wheel Alignment
Misaligned wheels, the result of worn or damaged suspension parts, can diminish steering control, fuel efficiency and tire life. It’s important that drivers recognize the signs of misaligned wheels so repairs can be made as soon as possible.
Here are five of the most common symptoms to look for, according to Pep Boys:
- Uneven tire wear — Check to see if the front tires appear to have the same wear patterns. Do the same for the back tires. If they appear to be the same, the vehicle is likely aligned. When the vehicle is serviced, the mechanic should check the tread as well.
- Vehicle pulls sharply in one direction — If the tire pressure is correct but the vehicle pulls in one direction, this condition may be a sign of wheel misalignment.
- Slight pulling — A good way to check your vehicle’s alignment is to let go of the wheel for a couple seconds when driving in a straight line at low speed with no surrounding traffic or obstructions. If your vehicle is out of alignment, it will drift slightly to the right or left. Perform this test in an empty parking lot that’s unoccupied by pedestrians, obstructions or other vehicles.
- Steering wheel vibration — When a vehicle’s wheels are misaligned, they will pull against each other and cause the steering wheel to vibrate. The steering wheel vibration can be weak or strong, depending on the severity of the vehicle’s misalignment.
- Crooked steering wheel — If you’re driving down a straight stretch of road and you notice that your steering wheel is crooked, you might need a wheel alignment. You might notice this after you run over a curb, a pothole or another type of obstacle in the road.
To view a video about understanding wheel alignment, click on the photo or link below the headline.