Sometimes potholes are unavoidable. And on occasion, no matter how careful you are, you’re going to strike a curb or two. Afterwards, your first inclination will be to check your car’s bumpers and tires for any potential damage. The majority of the time, no damage will be visible. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in the clear—you may have knocked your vehicle out of alignment.

Alignment Service

Misaligned wheels are the result of worn or damaged suspension parts and can cost you money in multiple ways. For instance, misaligned vehicles often suffer from uneven tire wear, which may require you to replace your tires sooner than you might have expected. Also, a misaligned vehicle is less fuel efficient than it is with synced tires.

So, how do you know if your vehicle is in need of alignment service? It’s best to start with potential issues first. If your car is pulling in one direction, it could be your tires are underinflated. Perhaps you notice your vehicle shakes quite a bit. It might be that your tires are unbalanced rather than an alignment issue.

5 Symptoms of Misaligned Wheels

  1. Uneven Tire Wear
  2. Check to see if your front tires appear to have the same wear patterns. Then do the same for the back tires. If they appear to be the same, your car is likely aligned. When having your car serviced, ask the mechanic to check the tread. They will be able to spot possible misalignment issues.

  3. Vehicle Pulls Sharply in One Direction
  4. As previously mentioned, this could be the case of underinflated tires. But if your tire pressure is correct and the vehicle still pulls in one direction, it is a sign you might need to have your wheels realigned.

  5. Slight Pulling
  6. This is less noticeable than the sharp pulling that occurs with a severely misaligned vehicle. One way to check if your car has a gentle pull is by finding a vacant parking lot that does not sit at an angle. While driving slowly in a straight line, release the steering wheel. If the car drifts to either direction it is likely misaligned.

  7. Steering Wheel Vibration
  8. While this could be the result of an unbalanced tire, steering wheel vibration can at times be a sign your vehicle needs to be realigned. The vibration, in terms of alignment issues, is the result of your tires pulling in opposite directions of each other.

  9. Crooked Steering Wheel
  10. Always pay close attention to your steering wheel use. You may be subconsciously correcting for a misaligned vehicle by driving with your steering wheel off-center. If you notice this is happening, it is another sign that your wheels need to be realigned.

The misalignment symptoms above are just some of the signs your vehicle needs realignment. Alignment is something worth asking your local Pep Boys specialist about, regardless of obvious signs, if you haven’t done so in a while. Checking your vehicle’s alignment is free and if repairs need to take place, you have multiple service options. Don’t forget, in the long run, a properly aligned car will save you money.