5 signs your car needs an alignment

  • Mar 12, 2021
  • Resources & Tips

Cars require upkeep, it’s just a fact.  Sometimes it can be hard to notice when something is off with your car, other times it’s very obvious. 

When your car’s alignment is off it’s usually pretty easy to determine that’s what is going on. It often changes slowly and becomes out of line, but can happen suddenly. The main culprits are sudden jarring, like going over bumps and potholes or hitting a curb, and regular wear and tear of the components inside your car.

If you think your wheel alignment is off, here are some things you can check for. 

1. Your steering wheel isn’t centered

If you’re not turning, your steering wheel should sit pretty close to perfectly straight and centered. If you’re not sure, look at your car emblem on the center of your wheel. If that looks crooked then your alignment is off. If you notice that the wheel is off center by more than 2-3 degrees in either direction, then your car is likely due for some maintenance.

2. Your vehicle pulls to one side or the other

Try driving straight down a road with no bends or curves. Does your car want to pull one way or the other? When testing, don’t take your hands completely off the steering wheel. There is a common misconception that the vehicle should drive perfectly straight with your hands off. In reality this isn’t the case because all roads have some degree of crowning which causes a slight pull to one side. Completely removing your hands from the steering wheel is also very dangerous. So keep hold of the wheel and just notice if you have to use one hand more than the other in order to keep it straight.

3. You notice abnormal tire wear in certain spots

Tire wear patterns can provide a lot of useful information about the condition of a car. The differences in wear patterns can indicate a misalignment in different areas of your car. Tire wear can most easily be seen by a mechanic when your car is getting a tire rotation or an inspection performed during a service. But it doesn’t hurt to check yourself and see if you notice any uneven wear on your tires. 

4. The handling feels loose

If the steering in your car feels a little loose or unstable, one of the possible causes is poor wheel alignment. A loose wheel feels wobbly, like your car isn’t exactly going straight, it wanders slightly requiring small corrections from the driver. If you notice this issue get you alignment checked as that’s likely the cause of the problem

5. The steering wheel doesn’t return to center

After a turn the steering wheel should naturally want to return to center on it’s own. Of course you need to keep driving to actually make the turn, but if you notice your steering wheel doesn’t even attempt to move itself back to center, then it’s a good indication that your alignment is off. 

If you notice any of these issues with your vehicle make sure you book it in for an appointment with the expert team at Warrenton Auto. Our technicians are here to make sure you get back on the road quickly and safely! Contact us today to book your appointment.