What's up with wheel alignment?

Posted by: Cal on 1/08/2013

Category: General

Whether you know it yet or not, wheel alignment is important for the safety of your vehicle, as well as for keeping your car tyres in tip top condition.

So, what exactly is wheel alignment? Well, it's all about having your wheels where they are supposed to be. Each model of car will have its own set of specifications and will come well-aligned, however every now and again day-to-day wear can cause the angle of the wheels to change a bit.

This can have some frustrating and concerning implications - your tyres may wear out more quickly and you might notice your car veering to one side on the road even when you think you're driving perfectly straight.

How to avoid your wheels getting out of alignment

It's impossible to avoid the daily wear and tear that comes with time and the usage that happens with any car. However we're also all guilty of the occasional kerbing incident, or failing to avoid that bump or pothole in the road.

It's these sorts of driving mishaps which can also contribute to misaligned wheels, so try to avoid them as much as possible. If you do crunch into a kerb with particular force then be aware that your wheels may have been bumped out of place.

What to look out for

Watch out for the signs and symptoms of out-of-alignment wheels. These include a 'tugging' steering wheel, a car that slightly veers one way or another while you're trying to drive in a straight line, and an overall feeling of a vehicle's handling being 'off.' Not only is this frustrating for you as a driver, it comes with a real risk factor, so be aware.

You might also notice that you're using up more fuel than usual, or that your tyres are looking particularly worn.

What can you do?

Unfortunately, once your wheels are out of alignment there's not much you can do about it yourself. You'll have to get your vehicle checked out and an expert will put the wheels back into alignment for you.

Prevention is the best medicine for this kind of wheel ailment - so make sure you avoid potholes on the way home from getting a service lest you throw them straight out of balance again!