A smooth ride on the road is not just down to good suspension and tyres. Wheel alignment and wheel balance can be checked at regular service intervals, or when new tyres are fitted. However, if you encounter problems with vibrations or drifting when driving check the following steps to try and determine the problem.
When you notice your car drifting to one side, making you turn the steering wheel from the centre position to keep the vehicle straight, it’s likely that wheel alignment is the cause. However, first eliminate the obvious. Initially check tyre pressures, since this can also cause the same ‘drifting’ effect, pulling the car to one side. It will also save you money as wheel alignment can cost around £30. Next, have a look for excessive wear to the tyre tread. A telltale sign is one edge being worn but unless you’re an expert you may find it difficult to recognise normal and excessive wear. This wear could be because of bad alignment so it’s a good sign that you should get a garage to check it out, plus the tyre could be illegal if it’s too worn.
Now your quite confident that wheel alignment is the cause, it’s best to speak to a garage. You may find that the garage only needs to align the front wheels depending on the type of vehicle but usually for cars a four wheel alignment is necessary. Alignment varies from vehicle to vehicle, meaning it’s not just a check to see if all wheels are aligned in the same direction. Slight adjustments to the camber, caster and toe-in or toe-out of the wheels can help to eliminate misalignment.
It’s difficult to say what the exact causes of wheel misalignment are but the usual culprits are potholes, speed bumps and hitting curbs too fast.
If you can feel vibrations feeding back through the steering wheel, or notice your rear-view mirror becoming shaky at certain speeds, the likely issue is improper wheel balancing. Unfortunately, this is not something you can correct yourself without the right equipment. Each wheel needs to spin true and if not vibrations occur which could wear your tyres quicker than usual. Weights can be used to stick to the inner rims of the wheel to correct any imbalance in a wheel, which could occur due to the car hitting potholes at high speeds.
If you find that you have any issues with your wheel alignment or wheel balance, we’d be happy to help. Please get in touch with us and we can get you an appointment at our garage straight away.