Anyone who owns a vehicle knows how much maintenance is required, even when they’re new. While it is easy to remember some of the regular maintenance that is required, sometimes there are things that fall under the radar. Wheel alignments are a necessary, crucial adjustment that all cars need, but often people are not aware that their vehicle needs an alignment until it becomes an issue. Fortunately, there are a few telltale signs that a wheel alignment is needed. In the interest of helping you keep your Toyota in the best shape for as long as possible, we here at Westbury Toyota have put together a list of the main indicators that your car needs its wheels aligned.
If you notice that your car tends to pull in one direction when you’re driving, it is likely that you need to book it in for a wheel alignment. The easiest way to tell if it is pulling is to drive straight down a road that is level. Do not remove your hands from the steering wheel to see if it will go straight, as this is very dangerous. Instead, take note as to whether the car can keep going straight with very little input from your hands on the steering wheel. If it pulls repeatedly to either side, it is definitely time to have the wheels aligned.
Another obvious sign that an alignment is needed is uneven tread wear. It is easy to check this on your own, explains the experts of Driving: all you need to do is turn the steering wheel far enough that you can see the front wheel tread faces. If they are obviously worn more on one side than the other, it means that there is an alignment issue. You can also check the rear tires for signs of tread wear, as well.
If you have noticed that your steering wheel is off-center when you are driving down a straight stretch of road, it is another indicator that the wheels need to be checked. While it will never be centered perfectly when driving due to road crown, it should be fairly straight (for example, the emblem in the middle of the steering wheel should look level to you). If it’s off-centered by more than a few degrees, there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Sometimes your car might feel like it is handling loosely. While there are multiple reasons why this might occur, poor wheel alignment is one of them. If you are unsure of just what “loose handling” means, the writers over at Quick and Dirty Tips break it down for you: If your car feels like it is wandering when you are driving it, corners loosely, or just feels unstable in general, it is definitely time to have it checked out to see if the wheels need to be aligned.
Whenever you take a corner, your steering wheel should naturally return to center once you straighten out. Obviously, this will happen with some input from you, but if the steering wheel does not move itself back to center automatically, it is a good indication that the wheel alignment is off.
A poor wheel alignment can lead to a host of problems in the future if not attended to, some of them quite expensive. It is also unsafe to drive a vehicle with poor handling, so if you have experienced any of these indicators while driving recently, it is time to book your Toyota in to have the wheel alignment checked. Save your vehicle from some unnecessary wear and tear (and yourself from some unnecessary costs) by ensuring your wheels are aligned regularly.