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Wheel Alignment: Why It Happens and What You Can Do

Close-up Shot Of Car Wheel
The little sticker on the inside of your windshield reminds you that it's time for an oil change. The sound of your brakes creaking and screeching lets you know that something just isn't right. And the missing tread on your tires warns you that you need four replacements pronto. But what about your wheel alignment?
Proper wheel alignment is essential. It can help to improve your car's fuel efficiency (saving you money on gas costs), increase overall safety, give you a smoother ride and give your tires a longer life-span. Neglecting your car's alignment means that the opposite may happen. And no car owner wants an inefficient, unsafe, bumpy riding car with bald tires.
If you're not sure what causes misalignment, how to tell if it's off or what you can do to get your wheels back into the best working order possible, take a look at what you need to know about alignment and the related issues.

What Causes Misalignment?

There isn't just one reason for misalignment. Poor road conditions, accidents, and driving mistakes (even seemingly small ones) can all contribute to your wheel's misalignment.
Potholes are among the most common culprits behind this auto issue. The force involved when you run a tire into a pothole can seriously impact the tire itself, the suspension and everything else that goes into your ability to steer and drive. It only takes running into one pothole to throw your car's alignment off. Keep in mind; it doesn't take a major pothole to cause misalignment. Running into pothole after pothole (even if they're somewhat small) can still cause alignment issues.
Along with road hazards, such as potholes, accidents and other similar driving incidents can also cause misalignment. Depending on the force of impact, something as seemingly small as hitting a curb or going to fast over a speed bump can cause alignment problems.

How Can You Spot Issues?

Like other car-related problems, you may be able to spot misalignment. If your car starts pulling to either the right or left, while you're trying to keep the wheel straight, it's likely that your alignment is off. Never attempt to spot this symptom by taking your hands off the steering wheel. This type of test is extremely dangerous. If you're in doubt or feel like your car is indeed pulling, bring it to a professional for service.
Other signs of misalignment include uneven tire wear or squealing tires. The longer you let these issues go, the worse they'll get. A misaligned car will continue to wear your tires down unevenly. This can cost you money in tire replacements and can lead to an unsafe driving situation.

How Do You Fix The Issue?

Unless you're a mechanic, fixing your car's alignment yourself isn't advisable. Schedule a service call to have the pros check your alignment and make the necessary adjustments. Depending on other issues that the misalignment may have caused, you may need to have your tires rotated or even replace them. While this may seem costly, proper alignment and tires that are free from excessive or uneven wear make your car safer and increase its fuel efficiency.
After your service appointment, make sure that you do everything you can to avoid another alignment issue. While it's not always possible to avoid all road hazards, driving carefully and safely can help to minimize the chance of alignment problems caused by running into or over curbs or speeding through potholes.
Is your car pulling to one side or the other? Are your tires worn unevenly or excessively? Contact us at Auto Import Service for more information on repair options.