If you have noticed that the tread on your car's tires seems to be wearing down unevenly, you may suspect that your car's wheels are no longer in alignment. If so, also check for the following signs while you are driving that your wheels are misaligned.
1. Vibrations Are Felt in the Steering Wheel
One of the first things you may notice while driving that may indicate that your wheels are not properly aligned is the presence of vibrations in the steering wheel. You may notice these vibrations as you turn the wheel or step on the brake.
In the beginning, you may notice soft vibrations that are only slightly stronger than the normal sensations felt while you are driving. However, as the misalignment worsens, the vibrations will seem to rock the steering wheel, as well as the entire car.
While vibrations are a possible indicator of a misalignment, there are other possible causes, such as worn brake pads. In this case, look for other signs that accompany the presence of these vibrations, and have a mechanic inspect both your brakes and tires.
2. Steering Wheel Rotates to One Side When Let Go
Along with vibrations, you may start to notice that the steering wheel itself is acting strangely while you are driving. You may feel as though you have to fight and apply extra pressure to turn it, especially while trying to rotate it in one particular direction.
This happens when your car is out of alignment because the wheels will pull the steering column toward the affected side. If you let go of the steering wheel while it is in the center position and you are driving slowly, you will see the wheel rotate to one side.
However, if you perform this test, make sure you do not fully pull your hands away from the steering wheel. Since your car will go in the direction that the wheel is turning, you want to make sure you can regain control of your vehicle quickly.
As your wheels become more misaligned, you will find that you have greater difficulty maintaining control over your car. Before it gets to this point, have a professional check out the alignment.
If your car is exhibiting the above signs while you are driving, there is a good chance that your wheels have been knocked out of alignment. If you suspect this is the case, take your car to an automotive shop that offers wheel alignment services.