5 Things That Are Throwing Your Car’s Wheel Alignment Off


Wheel AlignmentFor many, wheel misalignment is seen as one of those pesky problems that comes along with car ownership. And while yes, wheel misalignment can occur naturally over time, it’s more likely that there’s a specific reason behind your wonky tires. Like your driving habits. Or your tendency to neglect your car. Or that time you bumped a curb in the parking lot.

When your tires are out of alignment, it basically means  they aren’t pointing in the right direction. You may notice  your vehicle pulling to one direction or vibrating as the wheels pull against each other, or that your steering wheel is crooked even though you’re driving straight. This all negatively affects your steering, suspension and tires, but more importantly, it compromises your safety on the road. And that’s never a good thing.

Are you familiar with these common causes of wheel alignment problems?

Hitting curbs

Everyone hits a curb at one point or another. Whether it’s a gentle bump as you pull into a tricky driveway or a bad jolt from hitting one of those concrete parking spot dividers (not technically a curb, but close enough), it can be enough to throw a tire or two out of alignment.

Zooming over speed bumps

Speed bumps are a nice little reminder to slow down and keep an eye out for stray kids, cats, and whatever else may wander onto the road. But when you pretend the speed bumps aren’t there and hit them with excessive speed, your suspension will be jarred and your wheels could be knocked out of alignment. Also, remember that the heavier your car and faster you hit the bump, the worse the damage will be.

Hitting potholes

When a wheel hits a pothole, the force of the impact pushes the wheel—and the suspension—both backward and upward. That means the wheel, the suspension and the steering receive one heck of a shock. A severe impact with a pothole, or several smaller impacts over the course of time, can lead to a misaligned tire (not to mention damaged suspension, shocks, steering, tires, hubcaps…). The amount of damage depends on your tire, the size of the pothole, and your speed, so always try to take them slowly. Or better yet, avoid them altogether.

Getting into an accident

Even the teeniest fender bender can knock your alignment off kilter. It may not have caused any visible damage to your vehicle, but the accident may have been enough to necessitate wheel alignment services. Keep in mind that alignment issues aren’t always obvious right away. They tend to get worse and more advanced over time, so after any accident you must be vigilant about the warning signs.

In case you’re curious, here’s a list of the most dangerous intersections here in Victoria BC.

Not maintaining your car

Just like getting an oil change, wheel alignment should be a part of your standard auto maintenance. It’ll boost your car’s handling and safety, of course, but it’ll also improve fuel economy (properly aligned wheels offer considerably less rolling resistance), help prevent damage to vital vehicle components, and help extend the life of your tires, saving you tons of cash.

If you notice any of the warning signs mentioned in the beginning of this post or want to have your alignment checked out by the experts, get in touch with Searle’s Auto Repair in Victoria BC!


Write a Comment

Fields with * are required