Wear and tear of the steering and suspension system components along with rough driving conditions, like potholes or debris in the road, can throw off the alignment and the performance of your vehicle.

It is generally recommended that you get a wheel alignment done at a service shop every year, especially when putting new tires on your vehicle. This procedure involves adjusting all your vehicle’s steering and suspension components according to manufacturer specifications. Here are the easiest ways to tell if your vehicle’s wheel alignment is off.

  • Uneven tire wear. A faulty wheel alignment will cause your vehicle’s tires to wear unevenly and more rapidly than normal. Uneven tire wear usually presents itself in one of the following 3 ways:
    • One-sided tire wear. This type of irregular tire wear happens when the outside or inside edge of the tread is significantly more worn than the tread on the rest of the tire.
    • Feather edge tire wear. A tire becomes feathered or scuffed when the tread ribs are worn smoother on one side and sharper on the other. This creates a feathered look across the surface of the tire. One side of the tire is clearly more worn than the other.
    • Heel/toe tire wear. This is the partial wear of individual tread ribs. One side of the tread ribs are wearing faster than the other side circumferentially. If you run your hand over the tread ribs, they will feel like saw teeth.
  • Crooked steering wheel that shakes while driving. If your wheel alignment is off, the steering wheel can become off-center. This means that you will have to turn the wheel in the same direction as the rear tires to keep your vehicle pointed forward. The vehicle will be driving slightly sideways. The steering wheel can also shake or vibrate, which is typically caused by loose parts in the suspension. These vibrations will progressively get worse the faster you drive.
  • Vehicle that pulls to the left or the right. If the wheels are badly out of alignment and your tires have uneven inflation pressure, your vehicle will automatically try to turn to one side or another. You will have to continually hold the wheel to the right or the left with greater force than normal to get your car to drive in a straight line.

Proper wheel alignment is important to avoid excess wear on your vehicle. It can also prevent a decrease in your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and ensure a smoother driving experience which is safer for the vehicle and the driver. If you have noticed any of these symptoms of a faulty wheel alignment, bring your car to a trusted auto shop near you.

Meridian Automotive provides complete auto repair service in Meridian, Idaho. We’ve been Meridian’s auto repair experts for over 25 years. Don’t trust just anyone, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today at (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.

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