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4 Signs of a Wheel Alignment Problem

By maigne on October 17th, 2020

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What are the signs of a wheel alignment problem?

  1. Uneven Steering Wheel
  2. Uneven Tire Wear
  3. Vibrating Steering Wheel
  4. Squealing Tires

Have you ever felt as if you’re finding it hard to control your car? Is it leaning towards one side when you could have sworn that you’re keeping it facing forwards? Those are just a few signs of a wheel alignment problem.

Many drivers are sensitive to how their car feels, especially the way that they handle it. Experienced drivers that have driven a car for a long time would easily recognize that there is something wrong with the wheels as soon as they feel that something is off.

For the newer drivers, here are a few signs that there might be a problem with your car’s wheel alignment!

Uneven Steering Wheel

Close up of car wheel

Imagine driving on a completely flat and straight road. You think that you’ve got the steering wheel just at the right place to keep the direction straight. Then you suddenly realize that you’re slowly moving to the right. It’s as if the steering wheel is misaligned.

This can be a very subtle sign that your wheels are not aligned. Especially if the driver doesn’t pay close attention to the steering wheel when they’re driving.

To test this, find a relatively open and flat surface like a parking lot. Drive down it. make sure that the emblem at the center of the steering wheel remains level as you move forward.

If it tips a couple of degrees in one direction, that means the steering wheel is uneven. When that happens you need to have your wheels aligned right away. This may be a subtle difference, but it can still very well be the cause of a crash sooner or later.

Do try to do the steering wheel test once every few months or just after you had to drive through some difficult terrain. The earlier you find out that your wheels are unaligned, the faster you can get them fixed!

Uneven Tire Wear

Tires are one component of a vehicle that is made to withstand tremendous amounts of wear and tear. Naturally, the wheels of a vehicle would experience wear at the same time because all four touch the roads at a relatively even rate. However, with bad wheel alignment, the tread of one tire may thin out faster than the others. Often this is because of a lack of tire rotation. Although it may look like it doesn’t pose much of a problem, it does make the wear of tires very uneven.

When one tire has less wear, it only means that the three other tires take up that wear and tear. It doesn’t just make it uneven, rather the other tires also experience excessive wear on both the outside and inside edges.

Vibrating Steering Wheel

Hands on the Car Wheel

The most common reason for steering wheels to vibrate is when the wheels fall out of balance. When a wheel loses this balance, it can go off alignment by a noticeable degree. Understand, however, that every new tire has some kind of imperfection from its manufacturing period. It requires weights to perfectly balance and fit it to the wheel.

The worst thing about having a vibrating steering wheel aside from it being a sign that your wheel is unaligned is the fact that it can numb your hands with prolonged exposure. Considering the vibrations worsen when you reach high speeds, it can be a very painful experience when it happens while you’re driving through a highway.

Squealing Tires

Another sign of unaligned wheels is when your tires squeal during some parts of your drive. For example, you might hear it squeal when you make turns, or when you accelerate. This can usually be linked to your tires being worn unevenly as the tires squeal. This happens when the rubber on your wheel scrubs off while it’s trying to find traction. It could happen while cornering, hard-braking, and as mentioned above, accelerating.

The more frequent and stronger the squeal, the more severe the issue is with your wheels. That being said, squealing wheels do not always indicate uneven tires. Rather, it can mean a lot of things. Your tires might be underinflated, the tires might be worn out unevenly, the tires are misaligned, or there’s something wrong with your suspension or steering system.

Key Takeaway

As soon as you see the signs of a wheel alignment problem, you have to get your vehicle checked right away. This is an issue that many drivers undermine. Because of that, they turn their eyes away from it—not knowing that it can slowly eat away at the efficiency of your car and worse, cause bigger problems in the long run.

That is why as soon as something feels off with your car, check it yourself, or have a technician check for you. not only will you get your car fixed, but you’ll also prevent any possible crashes because of these problems!

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