Hitting potholes, curbs, or other obstructions in the road tend to lead to alignment issues.
There are a few indicators of alignment issues on your car:
The steering wheel is off-center and tilts left or right when driving straight.The steering wheel requires continuous correction when driving straight because it pulls to the left or right if you take your hands off of the wheel.You feel pulsing or shaking through the steering wheel or your seat, regardless of road conditions. One or more tires have uneven wear.
What Does an Alignment Shop Do?
Alignment is the process of properly configuring a vehicle’s suspension, wheels, and tires with one another and the road surface or conditions. The objective is to square a car’s wheels and axles to move in the same direction.
Professional mechanics use alignment machines that clamp to your car’s wheels and connect to a computer so they can make the most precise measurements and adjustments for alignment.
There are three main types of alignment, and the kind of suspension your car has will determine which of these three types your mechanic will recommend:
Front-end Alignment–The most basic of alignments limited to adjustments of the front axle
Thrust-angle Alignment–A front-end alignment plus alignment of the car’s rear wheels to be parallel with the front axle and perpendicular to the center point of the vehicle, typically reserved for cars with strong rear axles
Four-wheel Alignment–Alignment typically reserved for vehicles with four-wheel and all-wheel drive that combines concepts of front-end and thrust alignments with positioning the rear axle
How Often Do I Need a Tire Alignment?
If you have been driving under normal driving conditions, experts recommend an alignment once or twice a year– or every 6,000 to 12,000 miles. However, if you drive on pothole-laden and bumpy roads, you’re in the habit of curb checking, or you just so happen to hit a pothole so hard that your soul briefly leaves your body, the recommendation is to come in more frequently.