Check wheel alignment by observing your tires - uneven or rapid tire wear means your wheels need alignment. Also, if your vehicle is pulling to the left or right, or if your steering wheel is off-center when driving straight, your wheels are out of alignment.
Proper alignment helps your vehicle handling, and prolongs the life of your tires.
How Much Does Vehicle Alignment Service Cost?
If the tires exhibit signs of uneven wear than you should go to your nearest service garage. Many service shops will not charge to check your alignment on a machine because the equipment in the service bays make it relatively easy to run the report. Only if the vehicle needs an alignment, will you be charged. The going rate for a four wheel vehicle alignment varies depending on the part of the country, but usually it is in the range of $75 to $125 for them to align your wheels.
How Often Tires Should Be Rotated?
Tires should be rotated every five to six thousand miles, or at least twice a year.
Signs of Bad Alignment
Vibration and shaking as you drive your car are signs of a bad alignment. This happens as your wheels pull against each other instead of rolling in exactly the same direction.
An off-center steering wheel while driving straight ahead is another sign that your wheels are out of alignment. This happens because your vehicle is tracking to the left or right, and you need to offset this tendancy by turning the wheel slightly in the opposite direction to the pull.
Most common signs of poor alignment include:
- Vehicle pulling to the left or right.
- Uneven or rapid tire wear.
- Your steering wheel is off-center when driving straight.
- Squealing tires.
What Causes a Car to Shake?
Poor wheel alignment and tires that are out of balance can cause your car to shake. If your tires are out of balance the shaking starts at around 50 miles per hour (mph), and gets worse around 60 mph. The shaking may actually go away at higher speeds. If the cause of the shake is poor wheel alignment, the shaking is more commonly consistant at all speeds.
What Causes Wheels to Go Out of Alignment?
A sudden heavy impact or collision, such as hitting a pothole, bumping a curb or experiencing a road accident may cause your wheels to go out of alignment. Worn parts caused by wear and tear also affect alignment. Over time, parts such as suspension springs can become worn and slack, leading to a shift in the wheel alignment.
Can I Replace Just One Tire on My Car?
If your car's other tires have lost only 2/32 or up to maybe 4/32 of their original tread depth, it's acceptable to replace just the worn tire. Learn more about how to check tire depth to be sure the other tires are in the acceptable range.
If you do not replace all four tires, be sure to match up the new tires with what you have on the vehicle. Use the same brand, tire style and size to ensure safe and predictable handling. You can find your tire size on the sidewall, and with the easy search feature on Giga-tires.com, it’s easy to find the tires you need at a price to fit your budget.
Need Help With Your Tire Size?
If you need help finding your tire size, give us a call toll-free at (833) 885-8575