Wheel alignment is a part of your vehicle that most people don't think about, but improper wheel alignment can have serious repercussions, including loss of control over your vehicle and reduced fuel efficiency. In short, poor wheel alignment can greatly increase the likelihood of a collision occurring. Thankfully, there are a number of early warning signs of poor wheel alignment that you can look out for, so you can have the problem addressed as soon as possible, before it becomes dangerous.
If you notice that your steering wheel is shaking, or the vehicle is vibrating slightly when driving on an otherwise straight and flat road, this can be a sign of poor wheel alignment. If left unchecked, this shaking and vibrating can increase, making it harder to steer your vehicle even under ideal conditions. Have a mechanic take a look at your alignment at the first instance of unexplained shaking.
One of the more obvious issues is if your vehicle pulls to the side while you are driving. This can be fairly minor, and you can even be correcting it without even noticing. Try driving slowly down a deserted street with your hands off of the steering wheel. If you notice that the car is drifting to the side, you may have wheel alignment problems. However, this can also be attributed to uneven air pressure in your tires, so you should check that at a gas station before going to a mechanic.
Lopsided Tire Wear
If you notice that the wear on your tires is not normal (i.e. even across the width of the tire), but rather is more prominent on the sides of the tires or is more prevalent on one tire than another, you may have wheel alignment issues. Shoulder wear (when the sides of the tire wear down faster than the middle) can also be attributed to overinflating your tires, so you should again check your tire pressure at a gas station before heading to a mechanic if this is the case.
Tilted Steering Wheel
This is more of a way to check than a warning sign. Park your car with the steering wheel centered – the logo in the middle should be absolutely level. Then, get out of your car and check to see if your wheels are pointing straight ahead. If they aren't, and are instead pointing slightly to the left or right, your wheel alignment is off and should be corrected immediately.
To have the alignment of your tires adjusted, contact a company like Import Automotive.