For many, wheel misalignment is one of those pesky problems that are just part of owning a vehicle. And while wheel misalignment can occur naturally over time, it’s more likely that there’s a specific reason causing your misalignment problems, leading to uneven tire wear, poor vehicle handling, decreased fuel efficiency, and shorter tire life.
When your tires are out of wheel alignment, it basically means they aren’t pointing in the right direction. You may notice your vehicle pulling to one direction or another, 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.
So, what causes a wheel alignment to go bad?
- Hitting curbs — Whether it’s a gentle bump as you pull into a tricky driveway or a bad jolt from hitting a concrete parking spot divider, it can be enough to throw a tire or two out of alignment.
- Speeding over speed bumps — Speed bumps are meant to be a gentle reminder to slow down and keep an eye out for kids, or whatever else could wander onto the road. If you hit a speed bump to fast, it will jar your suspension and your wheels could be knocked out of alignment. The heavier your car and the faster you hit the bump, the worse the damage will be.
- Potholes — When a wheel hits a pothole, the force of the impact pushes the wheel—and the suspension—both backward and upward—giving the wheel, the suspension and the steering a big shock. A severe impact, or several smaller impacts over the course of time, can lead to a misaligned tire, not to mention damaged suspension, shocks, steering, tires, or 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.
- Accidents — Even a little fender bender can knock your alignment out of kilter. It may not have caused any visible damage, but enough to throw off the alignment. Alignment issues can be subtle but tend to get worse over time. After an accident, no matter how minor, have your alignment checked out to maintain the safety of your vehicle.
- Lack of maintenance – A car alignment service should be a part of your basic vehicle maintenance, just like oil changes and tires.
Remember: The correct wheel alignment will boost your car’s handling and safety, improve fuel economy, help prevent damage to vital vehicle components, and extend the life of your tires.
If you have experienced any of the five mishaps mentioned above, contact our ASE Certified technicians at Dependable Car Care for more information about our car alignment services and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves residents in the community of Ventura, CA, and surrounding area.