Car owners know regular service and maintenance of their car, like wheel alignment, can optimize its performance and extend its service life. However, some uncommon driving events and hidden alignment issues also can affect your car’s performance and safety. Here are some ways to identify and resolve alignment issues.
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Check Your Tires First
Before you assume that your car’s steering issues are due to an alignment problem, thoroughly inspect your tires. All tires should be the same size and type, and something like forgetting to swap out all tires to highway or snow tires or using inconsistent sizes can create effects that seem like an alignment problem. Also check out the tread and surface of the tires to make sure there aren’t chunks in them that are causing the pull or rattle, and that there aren’t bulges that show the rubber is separating from the steel mesh.
Shaking, Rattling and Rolling Off Course
Obvious signs of alignment issues are shaking, serious vibration when coming to a stop, steering that pulls to the left or right, or uneven tire wear. Hitting potholes, speed bumps and dips in the road can knock a car out of alignment. Brushing the wheels of your car against a curb or driving over obstructions in the road can also cause alignment problems. Whether obvious or not, alignment issues must be diagnosed and corrected as soon as possible for everyone’s safety.
Traveling Alongside Mother Nature
Open roads can be open invitations to accidents despite driver precautions. When you are driving at high speeds and hit an obstruction, it can cause structural and suspension damage that affects the alignment. A car traveling at speeds of 50-70 miles per hour that runs over a fallen tree or large animal, for example, will likely sustain serious damages, yet topping off major car repairs with a re-alignment is sometimes a dangerously overlooked step in the repair process.
Correcting or Repairing Unseen Alignment Issues
Some of the signs that your car is out of alignment may not occur during normal driving, but during emergency conditions those hidden issues could cause serious control problems. High-speed steering corrections to avoid an accident like hitting a deer, or hard braking to avoid hitting it, can cause alignment issues that may not show up until it is too late. Ask an alignment specialist, which you can find at tire shops in Palmdale or your area, to diagnose and correct alignment issues.
Update Your Service Checklist
Ask your insurance agent if repairing hidden damage like alignment issues incurred to avoid an accident are covered under your policy. Make sure you know the steps required by them to file a claim. Add reviewing your car insurance policy terms to your car maintenance checklist.
Be aware of signs your car may be out of alignment, and promptly tell the service manager about any unusual driving events like hitting an animal or slamming the front end of your car onto a buried boulder during mud bogging. Get it checked rather than risking safety or further damage.