Signs Your Car Needs an Alignment

When we talk about your car needing an alignment, we’re not talking about it needing braces. Though, it may be helpful to think of taking your car to the auto mechanic like taking it to the orthodontist. With cars, there are always signs that manifest themselves when something mechanical needs our attention. Alignments are no different. Read on to learn what tell-tale signs to look out for that indicate it’s time to take your car to see an auto professional.

What Signs Indicate My Vehicle Needs an Alignment?

There are a number of signs that indicate it’s time for an alignment. However, today, we’re focusing on the most common ones. If you notice the following signs, it’s an indicator that you need to take your car to the shop for some maintenance.

  • Your vehicle is pulling toward one side
  • The steering wheel feels loose or shaky
  • The steering wheel is uncentered
  • Your car has abnormal tire wear

Your Vehicle Is Pulling Toward One Side

We’ve all probably experienced this. Nothing beats when you purchase a new vehicle and it drives almost perfectly straight with no pulling toward either side of the road. However, even with an older vehicle, you can still enjoy easy driving by regularly getting an alignment.

Engine Repair - Picture of a car's dashboard display illuminated during nighttime driving conditions.

When a car pulls towards one side of the road, it’s usually the first major sign that your car needs an alignment. Not only are alignments helpful for your driving experience, but they also prevent excess wear and tear on other parts of your vehicle, which we will cover below.

The Steering Wheel Feels Loose or Shaky

Have you ever had a car steering wheel feel “loose” or “shaky” when you go over a certain speed? Maybe it’s something you only notice when you’re driving at higher speeds on the highway or interstate. Again, as cars age and we drive them thousands of miles, the steering system undergoes normal wear and tear.

The constant bumps of the road and maneuvering take a toll on our car’s steering components. If you’ve noticed more “play” in your steering wheel lately, it’s an indicator that you need to take your car to an automotive repair shop.

The Steering Wheel Is Uncentered

Have you noticed an uncentered steering wheel? If your steering wheel has an emblem in the middle of it, the easiest way to tell if your wheel’s off-center is by seeing if the emblem is slanted slightly to the right or left. If it’s only off by 1 or 2 degrees, it’s probably not a cause for concern. However, if it looks off-center by 3 or more degrees, it’s an indication that your vehicle’s out of alignment and needs to be checked by a mechanic.

Your Car Has Abnormal Tire Wear

Driving a vehicle that’s out of alignment not only contributes to an unpleasant driving experience, it also puts unnecessary stress on other parts of the car. The tires are one of the most affected parts when it comes to a vehicle being out of alignment. When you try to compensate for a vehicle that’s pulling towards one side of the road, it’s consequently going to put extra strain on 1 or 2 tires.

Alignment - Picture of a man removing a tire from a lifted vehicle.

This extra stress will begin to wear out the tread more quickly than the other tires that are less affected. If you notice 1 or 2 of your tires have less tread than the others, it’s a sign there’s an issue. Replacing tires is always an added cost, so maximizing their lifespan is important.

City Auto Repair in Gainesville, FL Has Your Car’s Alignment Needs Covered

It’s essential to protect your investment and keep up with routine alignments. We’ve got you covered at City Auto Repair! If you live in Gainesville, FL, or a surrounding area, reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for steering and alignment services. Save yourself from future costly repairs and maintain a pleasurable driving experience!