Find. Buy. Drive
CAR FROM JAPAN - Find best deals of used cars from reliable Japanese sellers

The Warning Signs Of Bad Wheel Alignment

What’s the worst enemy of your car wheels? Other than poorly maintained roads? Bad wheel alignment is a serious issue because it could create safety hazards and impact the gas mileage and tire tread. However, the truth is even a pothole, or a slight thud can throw the wheel off balance.

The Signs of Bad Wheel Alignment

You may ask: “How do i know if i need an alignment?” Even if you drive on smooth, well-maintained road and has a squeaky clean driving record, have the alignment got checked at every 6,000 miles. Properly balanced wheels will take care of the tires, save fuel, and guarantees optimal drivability. Let’s find out the symptoms of bad wheel alignment. Learning about these will help you to keep the vehicle at the top of its condition.

1. Drifting To The Left Or Right Direction In A Smooth Road

bad alignment noise
Misaligned wheels can make the car drift to a direction (photo source: Wallpaper Access)

     SEE MORE:

When you struggle to keep the car straight, you must take it to a servicing center to check the wheels. A wheel issue tends to make a vehicle veer into one direction on a flat road. To be sure, take your hands off the steering on an empty road and see if it drifts to the left or right direction a little.

>> Best deals for you: Toyota Prius 2011 for saleSubaru Impreza 2011 for sale

2. The Abnormal Worn Out Condition Of Tires

All the tires have an average lifespan, and they tend to wear off after that period. However, the signs are different when it sprouts from bad wheel alignment. Usually, the tread thins out because of lack of tire rotation. In such cases, you’ll see cupping on the outside edges of the front tires. On the other hand, if the alignment is off track, you may see excessive wear on both the outside and inside edges.

3. Sloppy Or Hard Wheels

Both the conditions are risky, especially when you are driving on a busy street or a road full of curves. It could be a problem with suspension components if you feel the wheels are loose or not holding up tightly while making a turn. However, bad wheel alignment is the culprit in most cases. Similarly, the same thing could be the reason of hard steering.

4. The Steering Vibrates While Driving

The wheel alignment cause a vibration when it’s off balance. It mostly happens when the car hits a pot hole or bumps into something and knocks out the wheels of their position. However, the shaking could be the repercussion of many other serious problems such as warped brake rotors, damaged suspension components, and misaligned tires.

wheel alignment cause a vibration
Wheel alignment can cause steering unstability (photo source: Angie’s List Magazine)

>> We have a list of Japanese Used Car whose wheel alignment is always perfect. Click here <<

5. The Noises

Bad alignment noise will warn you about displaced wheels. So, you should pay attention when your vehicle is making creaking, knocking, or squeaking sound. Although issues with suspension and loose or damaged components can be the reasons of strange noises coming underneath a vehicle, bad wheel alignment could be another potential cause.

First-aid Steps After Confirmation Of Misalignment

These remedy steps are for those who are confident enough in understanding of their car and at least have some mechanical skills. Let’s put your skills to good use and do some minor adjustments. Even if everything feels right, and no symptoms are present, there are some tasks for more alignment that you can do yourself.

Make a checklist like below:

1# Remove junk from your trunk

Alignment is based on tire angles, which go hand-in-hand with vehicle chassis height. If you have too much weight loading down your back end, that lowers your vehicle height, throwing off weight or rearranging weight will improve your alignment. You can also remove what you don’t need, and don’t forget to have your alignment checked by the garage after that since your alignment can’t adjust itself.

2# Maintain correct air pressure in your tires

Even and balanced air pressure in all four tires have an effect on the height of 4 points of undercarriage that connect to four wheel. For example, a car tire with low air pressure will got lower chassis height at one of four corner. This is one of the reason why you feel something is not right when steering.


3# Embrace conservative driving

It will place less strain on steering and suspension components which are key to maintaining proper alignment. Avoid off-road driving especially your car is an old one or is not designed to be an off-roader.

But Is Wheel Alignment Important Anyway?

The answer is definitely a big yes. Thanks to perfect wheel alignment, your tires will last longer, your vehicle will drive smoother, above all you can steer effortlessly in the right direction. Plus, your car will require less energy to reach a destination, consequently saving a ton of fuel in any trips.

When your car rolled off the factory assembly line, it came preset with special angles that position your tires correctly. This is designed for a good reason. So as for your vehicle to travel the way it’s supposed to, it of course needs precise alignment. Again, misalignment can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling and shorter tire life. Tires are expensive to replace but keeping them aligned isn’t, so you sure know what to do.

The Wrap-up

The sooner you detect the problem, the better you would save your pocket. Poor alignment of wheels can shorten the four tires’ life span by thousands of miles and deteriorate very crucial steering and suspension parts. That’s a big hit to anybody’s wallet. Unless you want to replace tires often and enjoy the benefits of better fuel economy, you should have your alignment checked, at the same time with every oil change or at the first sign of uneven or premature tire wear.

A typical alignment repair may cost something between $75 and $100. However, some mechanics may charge more depending on the complexity of the task and the type of equipment they need to use.

  1. Emmanuel Gurumani says


    1. Trang Tran says

      Thank you for contacting Car From Japan. However, we cannot answer your problem because there are many things we need to see at your car. I suggest you bring the car to a local mechanical shop to solve your problem.

  2. Edward Green says

    Poor wheel alignment causes serious issues in vehicles. It can pose a threat to your safety. It also hampers the mileage and hastens the tire wear. If you have ample of riding experience, you can detect few symptoms of the bad alignment. In such condition, the vehicle produces a different sound. It can also make the auto drift to a direction. While you drive it on the road, you can also feel that the steering is vibrating. That does not mean that poor alignment is the only issues. So you should check the car with top pros.

  3. Dan Guloba says

    How much air pressure is recommended for front tyres on a saloon car?

    1. Anfy JohnBean says

      It normally showed on driver door, just a small sticker stick on sidewall of drive door

  4. Frank peter says

    My car sherk on left hand side of tire what is that

    1. Trang Tran says

      Thank you for contacting Car From Japan. However, we cannot answer your problem because there are many things we need to see at your car. I suggest you bring the car to a local mechanical shop to solve your problem.

  5. Patrick Musuku says

    I really enjoy and appreciate this educative tips on how to take care of our cars.Keep up with good works.
    Now i have question,my question is,What causes the alternator to blow or stop functioning because i have a problem with my alternator for 2AZ engine.

    1. Trang Tran says

      Thank you for contacting Car From Japan. However, we cannot answer your problem because there are many things we need to see at your car. I suggest you bring the car to a local mechanical shop to solve your problem.

  6. Frank Ndosi says

    Nice one,please send me some tips

    1. Trang Tran says

      Thank you. We will provide more useful information like this. Stay tuned

  7. Marcus says

    Thank you for mentioning how properly aligned tires will help you save on fuel. It makes sense that taking the time to keep your wheel properly aligned will have less friction and will help them drive better. I can see how anyone looking into this would want to take the time to consult with a professional in order to know how often they need to care for their tires depending on where they drive.

  8. Ashley Maxwell says

    Thanks for your comment about how bad wheel alignment creates safety problems. I appreciate how you said that driving over a pothole with it could be just enough to set it off. My husband needs his truck’s wheels realigned, so he is looking into professional auto services in our area for assistance.

  9. Hannah Schroeder says

    Thanks for the information about how you’ll see signs of wear on the outside and inside edges of the tires if they’re misaligned. My brother told me that the wheels on my Kia might have an alignment problem because the steering wheel shakes. I’ll check the tread, and if there’s a lot of wear, then I’ll take my car to a tire alignment service.

  10. S Mathu says

    very educative session you have enlightened me………

  11. Miguel Medina says

    your page is realy veryl informative…keep it up!

  12. Millie Hue says

    Thank you for pointing out that one of the signs of a bad wheel alignment is if the car veers to one side of the road even while driving on a flat one. My sister mentioned the car having a ghost because the car is moving to the right side of the road even when she is not doing anything. At least now we know that it’s nowhere near paranormal. All she needs to do is take the car to the pro and have the wheels checked.

  13. Arlie Day says

    Wheel alignment is a car maintenance errand that every operative has to do in order to stay safe while driving on the road. Bad thoroughfares can be your wheels’ worst rivals. The wheel alignment can be greatly affected, if you drive through potholes consistently. A small misalignment can accelerate uneven tire wear. For that reason, wheel alignment needs to be checked every 6k miles. Squealing tire is a very common sign of bad wheel alignment. By being aware of the warning sign, you can make alignment timely.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.