How Do I Know If I Need A Wheel Alignment? [7 Obvious Signs To Notice!]

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No matter how well your car performs, it won’t go very far without having its wheels properly aligned. So whenever misalignment is suspected, it requires checking immediately. But what are the indicating signs?

Generally, if your car pulls to one side [left or right] while driving, it indicates a wheel misalignment issue. Some other signs that can specify a misalignment are the vibration of the steering wheel, tire squealing, or the steering wheel feeling sloppy/ loose.

Wait, that is not all! To get a precise decision about whether your car is bearing a tire alignment problem or what to do, there are many more to know. So without any ado, let’s get straight to the point!

What Are The Signs That Indicate I Need A Wheel Alignment?

What Are The Signs That Indicate I Need A Wheel Alignment

Well, you have already got a hint that there are a couple of ways telling you that your car needs alignment. You can notice the sign just by your sense- hands, eyes, and ears. A good old personal hunch can also be enough for all.

However, here let’s get to know all those indications in detail.

#1- Your Car is Drifting to One Side

One of the easiest signs that indicate that the wheels of your car have poor alignment is your car will start drifting particularly to one side while driving.

Generally, your car will be able to drive straight when you take your hands off the steering wheel. But suddenly if you start having trouble doing so, the possibility is high that the wheels are misaligned.

Now you should have your car checked immediately.

#2- Your Steering Wheel is Off-Center When Driving Straight/ Crooked

Apart from the drifting of the car, a crooked steering wheel often can be a noticeable sign of misalignment. As we all know, the steering wheel of our car is designed to be in dead center.

But when the steering wheel starts doing the other, then the alignment of your car is off. In case you are not so sure about it, the best bet is to check the logo of your car on the steering wheel.

If you see the logo of the steering wheel is off-centered 2 or 3 degrees in one direction, that indicates you are due for an alignment.

#3- Feel The Vibration of The Steering Wheel

Misalignment in your car creates vibrations in the steering wheel that can make your driving unenjoyable. As a general rule, the steering wheel does not vibrate while driving and functions smoothly.

But at that point where your hand starts feeling vibration, take it as the time to get the wheel aligned. But it is also notable that there can be some other reasons causing the steering wheel to vibrate.

That is why you have to take the mechanic’s help to determine the exact reason.

#4- Tires of Your Car Starts to Wear Abnormally

Tire patterns of your car often tell the tale about the condition of your car. Abnormal and quick wear of the tires indicates a misalignment similar to the steering wheel vibration. 

If you notice carefully or with the help of the experts, you can easily diagnose the tire wear of your car and get it serviced.

#5- Sloppy Or Loose Steering Wheel

Whenever your car is having misalignment, you may feel like the steering wheel is wandering on its own, in its own way. It is termed a “Loose steering wheel”. Here you notice that the steering wheel is no more as responsive as it was before or it is usually. 

A sloppy or loose steering wheel is a dangerous sign of misalignment in a car and it indicates that the car requires to be aligned as soon as possible. 

#6- Squealing of The Tire

The tire of your car wears at different directions and angles when they are misaligned by any cause. In some cases, when you accelerate or turn your car, you might notice the tire squealing if those are misaligned. 

Here also, the sign is not only an indication of the misalignment but also some other issues of the car like worn-out brake pads. So, whenever you notice the sign, we suggest, it will be better if you take the assistance of the experts to check your car. 

#7- Steering Hesitates As You Turn The Wheel

Nowadays modern cars offer steering power that makes the turning of the car easier. However, when the car is due for a wheel alignment, you have to exert more force when you turn the car. 

So if you are having difficulty turning the steering wheel of your vehicle, take the consultation of the professionals.

To put all things simply, whenever you feel your car’s steering wheel is compromised, get the car checked by the mechanic immediately. 

Still, need more help? Refer to the video below. 

What Causes Misalignment in My Car?

Several factors can make the wheels misaligned including road condition, your driving style, or vehicle components. That said, here are some common reasons that cause the problem in your car. 

  • Low tire pressure 
  • Heavy impact
  • Worn wheel parts 
  • Overdue wheel alignment 
  • Sudden force on tires and suspension 
  • Rough or bumpy ride 
  • A lot of off-road trips 
  • You get new tires
  • After getting into an accident 

Can I Fix The Misalignment Issue of My Car Myself?

To be frank, fixing the car misalignment issue is not something you should do by yourself without any experience. 

It is because a little mistake can put you into a deeper problem and can even compromise your road safety. 

For instance, by chance, if the suspension components are not attached so well, hitting a pothole or road bump can impact the suspension and alter the shape and frame of your car. 

Since the misalignment issue needs very precise adjustments, as you see, better not to try to fix it by yourself.

How Much Does a Wheel Alignment Cost for My Car?

Getting wheel alignment in a car is a cost-effective way not to have more expensive bills for afterward bigger issues [if the issue remains unresolved]. 

However, the cost to fix the misalignment problem of the car depends on the number of wheels, type of car, local labor costs, extra services, or alignment packages. On average, the cost can be between $79 to $119. 

To be more specific, front wheel alignment that involves two wheels can anywhere cost from about $50 to $75. As for the four wheels, it will cost more typically, $100 to $168.

How Often Do I Need a Wheel Alignment in My Car?

A wheel alignment is a type of maintenance that should be done every couple of years. 

We can say, even if your car is not showing any obvious signs of misalignment issues, you should get it checked by the experts for your safety. 

So, in what interval should you get your car to be checked? 

Typically, it is recommended to have a wheel alignment checked every 2 to 3 years or 6000 miles. 

But you should keep in mind that the service interval depends a lot on the road conditions and the way you drive your car. 

So, the best bet is to opt for a wheel alignment after the oil change every time.

Tips to Keep The Wheel of My Car Aligned

It is nothing new that the tires of your car are that crucial component that determines your road safety, ride quality, and handling. So of course, it should be taken care of! 

That is why, take some notes on wheel alignment tips from below for a better driving experience. 

  1. You should always keep the wheels of your car properly inflated.
  2. You should check the owner’s manual to know the recommended PSI of your car.
  3. Always try to keep your tires in good condition.
  4. Rotate the tires of your car regularly.
  5. Always have tire-friendly driving.
  6. Drive more carefully while on the road, especially on rough and bumpy roads.

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