Ongoing vehicle maintenance is a task that most drivers put off until signs or symptoms of needing repair are evident. Unfortunately, when a driver waits until this point to have a vehicle maintained or inspected, there are likely other issues that occur as a result of lack of preventive care. In other words, the longer you wait to maintain your vehicle, the more expensive it will be to repair the damage that occurs over that period of time to other areas and parts of your vehicle. You see, your car is a complex system of inter-working parts that rely on one another for optimal performance, and when one of those parts is damaged, it’s only a matter of time until the other connected parts are affected. One such issue that can get out of hand rather quickly is incorrect wheel alignment. The alignment of your wheels affects your suspension and your tire health. It can also greatly affect the overall performance of your vehicle. If you suspect that you may need a wheel alignment, here are a few signs and symptoms to look for:
Car Pulling to Either Side
Most roads are not flat—in fact, they are curved to prevent water pooling in the center of the roads. So, it is not unusual for a car to pull to the right or left, depending on the makeup of the road itself. In order to be sure that your car is indeed pulling to the right or left due to an alignment issue, you should take your car to a flat parking lot or drive down the center of a vacant road and pay close attention to how your steering responds. If the car is pulling, it is likely time for an alignment.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
Another sign that your alignment is off is when your steering wheel vibrates at higher speeds. This symptom can be especially scary while going highway speed. Unfortunately, this can adversely affect tire wear and eventually lead to blowouts or flats if not addressed in a timely manner. If your steering wheel is vibrating, it can also be due to other issues, such as a suspension-related problem. It is best to have your alignment and suspension inspected before other problems come up as a result.
Steering Wheel Emblem Not Centered
If your alignment is off, you may not notice your car pulling to either side subtly, but you may be able to notice a visible difference in your steering wheel placement. If while driving at a slow speed on a flat surface you notice that your steering wheel emblem is not centered, even though your wheels are pointing straight ahead, then it is likely that you need your alignment checked. The emblem on your steering wheel is meant to be dead-center when the wheels are aligned. It may be the only symptom thus far indicating misalignment, but it’s enough for concern.
Uneven Tire Wear
As previously mentioned, tire wear and tire health are greatly affected by misalignment. While tire wear patterns can indicate issues with the suspension, tire pressure, and driving habits, it is important to gauge your tire wear regularly—it can tell you a lot about what may be wrong with the vehicle. If your tire wear patterns are off-centered or one tire is more greatly worn than the others, you should bring your vehicle in for an inspection immediately. When your tires wear unevenly, they become increasingly more dangerous to drive on. And since your tires are what solely connects you safely to the road, it’s best not to take any chances.
Das European Autohaus
Serving the areas of Spring and Houston, Texas, the experts here at Das European Autohaus are trained to perform alignments and any other ongoing maintenance or repair needs for luxury German-engineered vehicles such as: Audi, BMW, Mercedes, MINI, Porsche, and Volkswagen. Just as these brands are synonymous with performance and quality, our professional automotive technicians bring the same level of expertise and excellence to their work. If you believe your car may need an alignment or another service, contact us today to schedule an inspection or consultation. We look forward to enhancing your vehicle’s performance and extending its life for many more years to come.