Even without an accident or major damage, your car will experience wear and tear. Driving at fast speeds for long periods of time can put a lot of stress on your car, especially the tires, causing them to become misaligned. When your car's alignment is off, driving becomes more complicated and may increase the risk of an accident. Check out these signs, causes, and solutions for poor alignment.
How to Spot Misalignment
There are many signs of misalignment, but one of the easiest to spot is uneven driving. Ideally, if you don't hold the steering wheel, the car should continue going straight. However, if the car is misaligned, it may pull to one side. This may happen suddenly or gradually, but if it's sudden, it may also indicate your tires are underinflated.
Another common sign your car needs to be realigned is uneven damage to the tires. If your car is properly aligned, your tires should wear down evenly, so if one or two tires (or one side of a tire) is experiencing more wear, there may be an issue. Last, your steering wheel may vibrate or may not sit straight when your car is driving straight.
Main Causes for Misalignment
There are three main causes for alignment problems: impact, worn parts, and height modification. Impact is one of the most common causes and may include driving over a large pothole, driving over a speed bump too fast, hitting the curb, etc. Even a small impact can slightly skew your alignment, and the more damage you experience, the more it continues to skew.
Warn parts are another main cause, and there isn't much you can do to prevent this except to maintain your car regularly. With regular maintenance, the suspension springs and other areas will be kept in good condition.
Last, if you've recently changed the height of car, your suspension may no longer be doing its job to keep the car aligned.
What You Can Do to Fix the Problem
If the issue came on suddenly but you don't remember an impact, check the trunk. If you have too much weight in the truck or other parts of the car, it puts your car lower to the ground. Since the chassis may not be made for this height, it can affect the car's alignment. So keep your trunk and car empty when possible.
To reduce the amount of wear and tear (and damage) to your car, drive conservatively. By driving better, you'll put less strain on the car and reduce your risk of hitting a curb or speed bump. Last, keep your tires filled to the right pressure, so they don't become under or over-inflated, which may cause the tire to become uneven.
The Dangers of a Misaligned Car
If you're experienced with auto repairs, you may be able to fix the alignment yourself, but for most vehicle owners, a professional fix is the best solution because there are many problems that may arise if you fail to fix the issue (or don't do it correctly).
One of the most dangerous potential side-effects of a misaligned car is a tire blow-out. Depending on the location of the tire and your speed when the tire blows, this can cause a major accident. Similarly, at high speeds, your car will be more difficult to move, increasing the risk of an accident because you can't get out of the way in time. Last, your braking will also likely be reduced because the wheels don't break evenly.
A poorly maintained vehicle can be dangerous, and if your car's alignment is off, there is increased risk of tire blow-out. If your car has been pulling to the side, it's time to check the alignment. Contact us today at Vans Auto Services LLC so we can help.