Taking a proactive interest in the condition of your vehicle, even if you'll never consider yourself to be a car buff, can help to save you money. One of the simple ways that you can take ownership over your vehicle is to monitor your front-end alignment. When your car gets out of alignment, your tires can wear out more quickly and you might also be dealing with a repair bill for worn-out front-end elements sooner than necessary. Fortunately, there are a number of not-so-subtle clues that reveal that it's time to visit an auto shop for an alignment job. Here are three clues to watch for.
A vehicle with a perfect alignment should travel in a straight line—barring any variation in the road—when you put your steering wheel in a neutral position and hold it lightly. If you notice that you're constantly applying pressure to the right or the left in order to make your vehicle travel straight, due to the vehicle wanting to pull in either direction, your front end is likely out of alignment. You can often get a visual clue of this issue by checking the logo in the centre of your steering wheel. When you're travelling straight, the logo should be perfectly horizontal.
Although your vehicle can vibrate for a number of reasons, such as tire problems, worn-out front-end joints and more, a common reason for an unexplained vibration is an alignment issue. If the vehicle's front end is out of alignment, the two front tires aren't working together in parallel fashion. The result will be an obvious vibration that you can often hear and feel. In terms of feeling the vibration, it might be apparent with movement of your steering wheel or, in severe cases, you might also feel it in your seat as you drive.
Uneven Tire Wear
It's beneficial to crouch next to your tires from time to time to examine the nature of your treat wear. If your tires are wearing evenly, it's a sign that your front-end alignment is in good shape. However, if you notice wear along the inner or outer edge of either of your front tires, it's a clue that your alignment needs addressing. It's important to get this job done as soon as you're able, as this improper wear pattern could cause a tire blowout, which could leave you stranded on the side of the road.
Contact a local auto shop to learn more.