Improper Wheel Alignment: Causes, Warning Signs, And Solutions
If you’ve ever felt your car drifting to the side of the road, you know how terrifying it is to be behind the wheel without complete control. If your vehicle’s ever done that, there’s good news: the solution is likely a straight-forward fix. Once you’ve confirmed your tires are properly inflated, you likely have a problem with your wheel alignment.
Keeping your wheels properly aligned is crucial for a number of reasons, including:
- maintaining proper wheel wear—improper alignment will place uneven pressure along the tread and turn the tires to the side
- fuel economy—bad tire placement means the car is working harder to reach its destination
- handling—the position of the tires means you need to work harder to maintain control of the vehicle
In the worst case scenario, bad wheel alignment can make a vehicle downright difficult—and even dangerous—to drive. Being out of alignment can lead to significant additional repair costs down the road as your car parts break down.
If this is a repetitive problem for a car you recently purchased, it could be due to a design flaw. Call us at 833.4.CARLAW for a free consultation.
Causes Of Improper Wheel Alignment
Any kind of sudden jarring underneath your wheels can lead to wheel alignment issues, as the impact will jostle the components that keep the tires facing the right direction. That includes hitting potholes at high speeds or even bumping a curb while parallel parking.
It’s not only sudden force that creates problems, however. Even gradual wear and tear to components like the suspension springs and the ball joints may eventually cause alignment problems.
Complicating the issue further is the simple fact that most manufacturers don’t have recommendations for alignment inspections in their maintenance schedules. This leads some authorities to recommend an alignment check with every other oil change or about every 6,000 miles—just to be safe.
Warning Signs Of Improper Wheel Alignment
While the naked eye usually isn’t enough to spot improperly aligned wheels, there are a few obvious indicators you should head to your dealer:
- Uneven tread wear
- The vehicle pulls to the left or the right
- Your steering wheel isn’t centered when you drive straight
- Vibrations in the steering wheel
One of these alone doesn’t necessary mean the problem is alignment-related. Tugging to the side or uneven tire wear, for example, could point to improper tire inflation. However, once other factors are ruled out, alignment is the most likely culprit.
What To Focus On
Once your vehicle is in the dealership, the technicians will likely focus on three things:
- Camber: how much the wheels angle inward or outward when viewed head-on
- Toe: how much the wheels angle inward or outward when viewed from the side
- Caster: how much your steering pivot is angled, measured by viewing the angle of the upper and lower ball joints
By checking these three factors, they’ll be able to deduce the primary cause of the misalignment. Once the corrections or repairs are made, they’ll check again to ensure the fix went well.
Avoiding Repeated Issues
If your car needs repeated alignment repairs despite your most careful driving, you may have been sold a lemon. Robison Lemon Law Group is here to help. With years of experience in the industry, we can help you navigate both the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and Lemon Law to ensure you receive the justice you deserve. Our experienced legal team will work with you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.