How to Spot Wheel Misalignments and Why It Is Important to Fix Them

Nov 10, 2018 | Same topic: Handy maintenance tips
Read to know when you have your wheels misaligned and the proper ways of fixing them.

Owning a vehicle or a car in particular is more than just posh driving, smooth travels and protection from both sun and rain. Every driver and vehicle owner has to go through buying gas, safe driving, observing traffic rules and regulations and tiring check-ups for its parts just to ensure that the vehicle doesn’t break down at a bad time.

misaligned wheels

How do misaligned wheels affect your car and safety?

One of the safety measures that every car owner has to go through is securing the wheel’s alignment is always at it’s best. Even though it’s simply irresistible to put off wheel inspections and safety; most people wouldn’t take the risk.

Vehicle owners would rather spend a few minutes and a few pesos to have the vehicle wheels checked than spend hours (if not days) and crack a bigger amount of money to make necessary repairs. Let Philkotse.com helps you save your car wheels and save your money too!

1. What Happens With “Wheel Misalignment?

The simplest way to describe a case of wheel misalignment is by comparing it to a run-down shopping cart at the local supermarket. It leans on one side, keeps rolling fine on the other then when you push it; it goes 30 degrees off the direction to push it to.

wheel misalignment

Unlike an inefficient grocery cart, vehicles and cars can’t just be taken back to where you got them and grab another cart that works more smoothly

Asides from the endless possibilities of potential bad outcomes that can arise from a wheel misalignment; there is also the annoyance when you drive it. There is also the higher rolling resistance that wheel misalignment results to. When high rolling resistance is present it means greater pressure against the tires. This wears down the tires more and therefore decreases its lifespan.

As this happens it also gives way to lower fuel economy. Lower fuel economy simply means that the vehicle is burning and using up more gas to get from point A to point B due to the wheel misalignment. And with the prices of products of services rising nowadays, who has the courage to endure wheel misalignment and allot a bigger budget for gas allowance, right?

2. Signs of Wheel Misalignment

Even though most drivers and car owners are already aware of basic concerns and hazards of driving a car, there are still those who can’t properly recognize a wheel misalignment. To put matters to rest, we’ve listed the top signs that a car’s wheels are definitely misaligned and are due for a mechanical consultation.

signs of wheel misalignment

Know these signs to easily recognize if a wheel misalignment is really the vehicle’s problem

2.1. Tugging left, tugging right

This pertains to instances where vehicles are supposed to sail smoothly on a straight road; yet somehow it manages to disagree with the person behind the steering wheel. Another case is when you still need to apply force and handle the steering wheel just to keep the vehicle going straight. If there is a wheel misalignment in the scenario then it’s bound to be represented by these two signs. The vehicle will tend to turn to one side either by a smooth pull or tug motion or sometimes by an obvious pull.

2.2. Turns are harder to recover

The usual case is that when a driver makes a turn, the steering wheel is supposed to return to its original place. But if there is looseness and difficulty rather than a prompt recovery, then there may be problems with components concerned with either the steering or suspension. But then again, the wheels just most probably need to be checked for an alignment.

2.3. Jerky steering conditions

If you drove your car at its best then you’re most probably going to recognize driving it at its worst. If the steering feels harder to pull, jerky or so, this may be due to a couple of possible problems. This can also be purely a case of wheel misalignment.

uneven tire wear

Your guideline to uneven tire wear

Tire worn out unevenly

This is the most obvious and most reasonable sign of wheel misalignment. Uneven wearing of the tires doesn’t have to refer to the tires itself. The mere surface of a single tire can be enough to show a case of uneven wear. If there are different wear patterns on two different sides of the tires, such as a more obvious wear on the inside compared to the outside; then there is definitely a need to consult professional help. Both the front and rear wheels should be worn out evenly.

>>> Read more tips to preserve your car tires:

Crooked vehicle logo

This is so obvious that it wouldn’t really take an observant person to notice this. The vehicle’s logo sits horizontally at the middle of the steering wheel when it goes in a straight direction. So when one is driving in straight highway and the logo looks tilted then there is definitely a wheel misalignment issue.

3. Fixing A Wheel Misalignment

Vehicles are tested well and manufacturers ensure they are at their best when they reach the market before even reaching the hands of the new owner. But after purchase, the new owner is now responsible for the car maintenance and check-ups. Even though a licensed mechanic is the best help, there are also cases when he may need to fix the issue himself. Here are some self-help maintenance tips to fixing a wheel misalignment.

fixing wheel misalignment

A few things to consider in fixing wheel misalignment

3.1. Maintain correct air pressure between all the tires

Be reminded that this correct air pressure should be applied evenly to all four tires of the vehicle to avoid uneven tire wear. This may sound easy enough but for some of the busiest people, this is practically a hard thing to do.

3.2. Get used to conservative driving

Conservative driving means having less instances of braking and driving off. This will put less pressure on the steering as well as the suspension parts. These two are a key to keeping the vehicle’s proper wheel alignment.

3.3. Have as few items in the trunk as possible

If there’s too much load weighing down the trunk then chances are high for wheel misalignment. Store as few items as possible in the trunk and in the car itself. Also, if there are passengers, make sure the total weight is spread evenly across to avoid tires wearing out on one-side only.

Source: Hanna Miel Sanchez