Avoid Costly Repairs With Wheel Alignment

You clipped the curb while trying to parallel park and now the car drifts right.

"Steering-related problems can cause abnormal tread wear and make your vehicle pull to one side," said Tony Molla of the Automotive Service Association. "They could reduce your vehicle's tire life by 50 percent and be a warning sign for other types of damage."

Vehicles fall out of alignment for a number of reasons. Hitting a curb or road debris at freeway speeds could bend parts in the steering and suspension systems.

You may need to replace shock absorbers, sway bar, steering links and rods. Or you could damage wheel rims and throw tires out of balance.

What are the signs that your vehicle might need an alignment or suspension components?

Molla offers the following checklist:

  • Check the tires. Uneven tire wear often indicates the vehicle is out of alignment. Tire wear around the edges is a common symptom.
  • The vehicle pulls left or right. The vehicle will drift left or right, rather than maintaining the course.
  • Excessive shaking and rattling. Often indicates worn shocks and struts.
  • Vibration in the steering wheel. This could also indicate a problem with the brakes, so it’s best to check with a trusted service advisor should this happen.
  • Off-center steering wheel. Centering the steering wheel is part of an alignment service.

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