You’ve probably heard friends or colleagues talk about their car’s “wheel alignment”.
But what does this term mean?
And what do your friends mean when they say: “I need to send my car for alignment”?
WHAT IS WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
In order for your car to be driven safely, the wheels must be aligned to the car’s suspension.
This ensures that they travel straight and in the direction that the vehicle is pointed in.
Here are three signs that indicate your alignment may be off:
1) YOUR CAR “PULLS” TO ONE SIDE
If your steering wheel is pointed straight but your car keeps pulling to one side, it is a sure sign that your wheel alignment is off.
If the problem is minor, the “pulling” may not be very pronounced.
Perhaps you think that the problem is just that the road is curved.
To determine if there is a problem, drive down a relatively straight and flat road.
If you have to keep making steering adjustments to keep the car pointed straight, your wheel alignment is off.
A car without wheel alignment issues will only require the driver to keep the wheel pointed straight when driven down the same road.
2) YOUR TYRES HAVE WEIRD WEAR PATTERNS
If your tyres have strange wear patterns, there is a strong chance that your wheel alignment is off.
As long as you rotate your tyres regularly and keep them correctly inflated, their wear pattern should be even.
Any signs of uneven wear could indicate that either your wheel alignment or camber needs to be corrected.
3) YOUR STEERING WHEEL IS OFF-CENTRE
When you’re driving on a straight and relatively flat road, your steering wheel will normally be centred.
But if your alignment is off, your steering wheel will be turned partially left or right even if your car is travelling in a straight line.
If you see any or all three of these symptoms, head to your workshop immediately.
A car with improper wheel alignment is dangerous to drive, especially if it pulls.
Having to make constant steering corrections also poses a risk, especially to less experienced drivers.
And besides the weird tyre wear patterns, misaligned wheels also increase fuel consumption!