4 Common Wheel Alignment Problems and How to Diagnose Them
Written By: josh
September 14, 2020
What are common wheel alignment problems?
- Uneven Steering
- Loose Steering Wheel
- Noisy Handling
- Squealing Tires
One dilemma that most car owners don’t easily recognize has something to do with the wheel alignment. The problem here is that for the inexperienced drivers, it’s not easy to notice. When your car is experiencing these wheel alignment problems, you have to fix them quickly to prevent anything bad from happening.
In this article, we talk about 4 common signs that you have wheel alignment problems and what you can do to fix them.
Vehicles are designed to default to the surface where it is driven. When the road is completely flat and straight, the steering while should remain straight and centered. When the road is bumpy or leaning towards one side, the steering wheel will adjust the same.
When there’s a problem with wheel alignment, drivers should be able to notice a slight difference and difficulty in keeping the car in line.
One of the easiest ways to check if the wheel alignment is off, is by driving somewhere with a flat surface. Look at the brand emblem of the steering wheel. If it is leaning to one side, then the steering wheel is uneven. When you see this, you must have your wheels realigned right away!
Loose Steering Wheel
Often an uneven steering wheel can lead to it being loose, as well. This is dangerous because it usually means there will be a decrease in response time when turning. A loose steering wheel means something is wrong with the parts that connect it to the wheels.
The steering wheel is connected to the tires through what are known as tie rods. Tie rods are found in the recirculating and rack and pinion systems. Steering wheels tend to get loose when the tie rod gets too worn out.
To spot whether or not your steering wheel is loose safely, drive on a road that is less traveled by. Be it somewhere near your house, or at a relatively open parking lot. There, perform left and right turns slowly. If you have been driving the car before, then you should notice a delay in how the car turns!
For the lesser experienced, the most noticeable thing would be the steering wheel being either too easy or too difficult to turn. Anything that is out of the normal range would be a sign of a loose steering wheel!
Vibrating Steering Wheel
Two of the most common reasons why steering wheels vibrate are warped brake rotors or unbalanced tires. Warped brake motors cause the steering wheel to shake whenever you step on the brakes; while unbalanced tires cause the steering wheel to shake while traveling at high speed.
Misaligned tires do not allow for an evenly distributed weight across the car. Some tires have heavier parts and lighter parts that should match each other once installed in one car.
It’s recommended that you have your car tires rebalanced every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometers. It helps ensure that your car won’t’ have any wheel balancing problems and it also occurs at the same time as other maintenance checkups for your car!
When your vehicle starts squealing, it can be a sign of a multitude of problems. One of them is the misalignment of the wheels. There are times when tires get worn out unevenly due to pre-existing misalignment issues. Often, this happens to barely noticeable wheel misalignments or to people who are oblivious to the fact that this can happen. Squealing sounds are one of the best identifiers that your car has a problem, though it doesn’t always mean it’s about the wheels.
Sometimes it can mean that you have worn brake pads. Other times it’s because part of the steering and suspension system has lost lubrication. Whatever the cause may be, it is still something that you should keep in mind.
Bear in mind that a noisy car means there might be some problems be it just a whistling sound out of nowhere, or a rough screeching sound from below the chassis. Whatever the sound may be, it would be best for you to have it checked right away!
Wheel alignment problems can be a chore. To most people, they’re not very noticeable, and to the more experienced drivers, they are very irritating to experience. Though there are many telltale signs of having these, there’s not a lot of things that you can do by yourself to fix them.
Most problems regarding wheel alignment need a professional to look them up because it mostly deals with something in the suspension system, chassis, the tie rods, and so much more.
Whenever you hear your car make squealing noises, begin to feel like the steering wheel is heavier than usual, or suddenly feel that the steering wheel is vibrating, be ready to have your car get fixed. Contact a trusted mechanic so that you can have the whole thing checked for any problems!
You can attempt to fix them by yourself, as long as you have the right knowledge about cars and a guide or two to help you out. Whenever you face problems with your cars, do not panic and think of a solution with a calm mind.