05 Feb Get it Straight: Signs You Need a Wheel Alignment
With all of the technological advances in the car world, your vehicle can often tell you when it’s not running as happy as it should. Need oil or coolant? Fuel? Something up with the engine? Crossed into the other lane or falling asleep? There’s an alert for that!
Finding out that your wheels are misaligned isn’t always so in-your-face. As your vehicle bumps curbs or runs into potholes on Kelowna roads, wheels become more and more misaligned. Discombobulated wheels may lead to uneven tire wear, forcing you to purchase new tires sooner than you’d like. It also negatively affects fuel consumption as the engine has to work harder due to added resistance of misaligned tires.
Perhaps because there aren’t always such clear signs flashing on the dashboard telling us to check our wheel alignment, this issue usually gets overlooked. It’s an important task to maintain your vehicle, both in safety and performance.
Here are five common signs your vehicle requires an alignment:
Your steering wheel feels off-center
When driving down a flat, straight stretch of road, your steering wheel should sit close to perfectly straight. Sure, we don’t live in a world with exceptional, smooth roads, but the emblem in the center of the steering wheel should appear level to you.
Your vehicle’s steering fights back
Similar to the previous point, vehicle pull is more noticeable while driving straight. In a perfect world with perfect roads, a vehicle should drive completely straight when your hands are off the steering wheel. All roads have some degree of crowning, which will always create a discrepancy. We don’t ever recommend taking your hands off the wheel, but if you can feel it pulling to one side while lightly holding the steering wheel, it’s time for an alignment.
Uneven tire wear
Tire wear tells our auto technicians a lot about tire pressure, suspension, and alignment. For example, wear on only the inside or outside edges of tires indicates a camber problem. Feathering or scalloping of the tires may be a toe issue.
Auto technicians usually notice tire wear during an install of winter/summer tires or an inspection service. We always let our customers know the situation. Proper alignment will reduce uneven wear on your tires, significantly increasing their life expectancy.
The vehicle handling isn’t up to par
Loose, wandering, instability, sloppy around corners, wobbling off a quick start, or not properly hugging the corners – all signs of misalignment. Have your alignment checked right away if you notice any of these issues.
The steering wheel doesn’t re-center
Again, much like in the first point, the steering wheel should re-center after completing a turn. The vehicle should naturally want to drive straight. If you feel the need to re-center the steering wheel, your alignment could be off.
At every alignment inspection, Motor Werke’s European auto experts will check all steering and suspension components as well. Worn parts in these areas are a common side effect of alignment going out of specification. Other causes of wheel misalignment such as hitting curbs, bumps, and potholes often cause problems with the suspension. Vicious cycle! So allow us to check your vehicle from top to bottom. It’s what we do to keep every customer safely on the road.
Besides an important safety issue for your vehicle, the money saved by extending the life of your tires will often exceed the cost of the alignment itself.
Plus, we assure a pleasant surprise by how nicely your car drives post service. Schedule a service appointment with us and you’ll be back on the road in no time – damn straight!