December 19, 2020
Proper wheel alignment service is essential for safe, comfortable driving. In today’s post, we explain how to spot the signs telling you it’s time to book a professional wheel alignment, all from the comfort of home!
Read on or contact your local TIRECRAFT to speak with a wheel alignment expert straight away.
5 Signs It’s Time To Book A Wheel Alignment Service
If you notice any of the following indicators, you should book a wheel alignment service immediately:
- Uneven tread wear on your tires—While road conditions may cause slightly uneven wear, even on perfectly balanced tires, excessively wear on one tire is cause for concern.
- Vehicle pulling to the left or right—Uneven road conditions can pull your vehicle one way or another, but you should be able to drive straight without issue on level roads.
- Steering wheel off-centered when driving straight—If your steering wheel needs to be crooked for you to drive straight, you almost certainly need a wheel alignment.
- Excessive steering wheel vibration, even at moderate speeds—If your wheels are out of alignment, you’ll feel it in the steering wheel, especially at high speeds.
- Squealing tires—Some squealing is to be expected while executing turns at low speed, but if you hear these sounds frequently, it may be time for an alignment.
Can I Check My Wheel Alignment From Home?
Though wheel alignment jobs are best left to the pros, some alignment specs are easy to check yourself. Broadly speaking, the three factors that affect alignment are toe-in, camber, and caster, and we can check two out of three without leaving home.
- How to check the toe-in. For most vehicles, the front tires will be intentionally pigeon-toed (i.e. turned slightly inward) in order to reduce the load on the wheel bearings. Toe-in specs typically vary from one-thirty-second to one-eighth inch, depending on your vehicle and tire type. When in doubt, you can check the service manual, or ask a local TIRECRAFT expert as part of your free consultation.
The number-one tip-off to toe-in issues comes in the form of an equal saw-tooth wear pattern on both front tires. You can often simply eyeball it, too—if the tread blocks point in, towards the frame, you’re looking at excessive toe-in; if the tread blocks point outwards, you’re probably dealing with too much toe-out.
If you notice any toe-in issues, get in touch with your local TIRECRAFT for help.
- How to check the camber. The term “camber” refers to the measurement of tire lean in degrees. If the top of your tire tilts inward, your vehicle has negative camber; if the top of the tire tilts outward, that’s positive camber. Most newer vehicles come with slightly negative camber in order to provide greater stability and handling.
If you notice your vehicle pulling in either direction, you’re probably dealing with positive camber on that side. You can verify this by checking for uneven tire wear across the tread. It’s also possible to check the camber with an angle finder and a straight edge. Simply park on level ground, place the straight edge across the wheel (using the inner lip if the outer lip is worn unevenly), and use an angle finder to give you a rough camber reading.
Get A Quote On Professional Wheel Alignment At Your Local TIRECRAFT
Use the Find a TIRECRAFT tool to get a second opinion from a wheel alignment expert and find out exactly how much this essential car service will cost.Back