It's a good practice to spend time finding a reputable auto shop in your community that you can turn to in a time of need. By knowing about this shop in advance, you won't have to begin the process of researching the best place to visit once you experience a problem with your vehicle. In the case of wheel alignment, it's important to deal with this problem as soon as you're aware that it exists. Continuing to drive when you need a wheel alignment can cause vibrations that wear out moving parts and even loosen tight joints. The good news is that there are several ways to tell if you need an alignment job done -- here are three.
You Can Visibly See Uneven Tire Wear
Drivers should get in the habit of visually inspecting their tires periodically. While checking your air pressure and testing your tread depth are important, so too is noticing how evenly the tires are wearing. Through use, the thickness of your tire treads should wear down uniformly. If you have an alignment problem, however, it's common to experience tires that are worn on either the inner or the outer edge. You can often detect the issue by crouching down and looking at the tire tread head-on. If it's noticeably smoother on either edge, it's a sign that your front end is out of alignment.
Difficulty Traveling Straight
When you loosen your grip slightly on the steering wheel, your vehicle should continue to travel straight down the road. If, however, it begins drifting to either side, it's a sign that your alignment is off. An improperly aligned front end can make you constantly have to "fight" your steering wheel just to maintain a straight trajectory; you might even notice that you have to continuously keep the wheel slightly turned just to stay straight and travel in your lane.
When you're traveling on a smooth road, the ride should also be smooth. However, an inexplicable vibration can indicate that the vehicle is out of alignment. This vibration can be subtle or pronounced. In the latter type, you'll often be able to feel it in your body. Even in a subtle example, you should be able to get a sense of the vibration in your hands as you hold the steering wheel. In certain cases, the vibration will be paired with a noticeable noise, so it's effective to occasionally drive with your windows down to improve your ability to hear this subtle noise.
For a wheel alignment, contact a company such as D Wells Automotive Service.