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How do I know when I need a wheel alignment?

When your vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned they all point in the same direction. When they are out of alignment, most motorists notice a couple of things. First, the family car pulls to one side when driving. It could be slight or pretty severe. If your wheels have been out of alignment for a while, you’ll also start to see uneven tire wear – the shoulder on either the outside or inside of the tire is worn down more than the others.

A whole bunch of steering and suspension components are joined together. Everyday driving can cause a vehicle’s wheels to go out of alignment over time just from the joints loosening up. Hitting those ever so small potholes overtime can cause this to happen sooner than later. That’s why most car makers recommend an alignment check every couple of years. Depending on where you live or the conditions you drive in (off-road driving, harsh winter conditions, poor pavement, etc.) – an alignment inspection every year at your locally owned and operated NAPA AutoCare Center may be called for.

Suspension and steering components wear over time as well which can lead to dangerous and costly alignment issues. Of course, a big bump like hitting a curb or major pothole can knock a wheel out of alignment or damage a critical steering or suspension part.

Your NAPA AutoCare Center Service Advisor can have your vehicle inspected for uneven tire wear and dig deeper into what is causing the issue. The type of wear provides clues for what might be wrong. Undercar parts are inspected for wear and damage. The alignment machine will provide a reading of how each wheel is aligned. The reading is compared with the alignment settings recommended by the automobile manufacturer, and then the service specialist makes the necessary adjustments and repairs to bring your wheels back into proper alignment.

Putting off a wheel alignment can get costly due to tire wear. Bad alignment can chew through a tire pretty quickly. If you see uneven tire wear, if your steering wheel is off center, or your family car pulls to one side ask your local NAPA AutoCare Center about getting an alignment check.

Posted May 1st, 2014

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