Tire alignments, despite their name, refer to a common vehicle maintenance process in which your vehicle's suspension system is altered to ensure that your tires are properly set in place in reference to the road. This helps improve your overall vehicle performance, including acceleration, top speed, and fuel efficiency. However, it can be hard to tell when, exactly, you need to have your vehicle's tires aligned.
Thankfully, there are a few simple warning signs that you can keep an eye on to ensure that your vehicle's tires are in peak working condition at all times.
One of the earliest, and also easiest to spot, signs that you need to head to a mechanic to have your vehicle's tires aligned is if your vehicle is vibrating while you are driving, especially at low speeds. Vibrations at higher speeds can be attributed to a number of other mechanical problems, such as a clogged air filter or dirty oil, but vibrating at low speeds almost always points to some sort of issue with your vehicle's suspension and tires.
Another easy to spot indication that you need to have your tires aligned is if your vehicle pulls left or right while you are driving. If your tires are particularly misaligned, this can actually be a pretty serious problem and can greatly increase the risk of an accident occurring, as you will have to use a significant amount of effort to steer your vehicle in the direction that you want to go in.
You can also identify poor alignment before it becomes a serious safety issue by driving at slow speeds on a deserted street with your hands off of the wheel and the tires pointing straight. If your vehicle starts to drift to one side or the other, your alignment is off and you should head to a mechanic, because leaving it for too long can result in the dangerous pulling mentioned above.
Uneven Tire Wear
Finally, a clear sign that your vehicle is experiencing tire alignment issues is if your tires experience different wear patterns. This means that the tires on one side of your vehicle will experience much more wear than the tires on the other side, since they are out of alignment and thus experience more wear when in contact with the road. This is different from having uneven wear on the treads of the tires themselves: tires that have the inner or outer portions of their treads worn away are improperly inflated, not out of alignment.
To learn more tire alignment, contact a local auto repair shop such as H & S Tire & Auto Center.