Does Your Car Need a Wheel Alignment? The Red Flags

wheel alignmentKeeping your vehicle’s wheels aligned is one of the keys to tire longevity.

Improper wheel alignment can cause the tread on your tires to wear out more quickly, negatively affect handling and ride, and even hurt your fuel economy. Considering the high cost of fuel and tires, that can turn alignment problems into an expensive proposition.

Many drivers don’t even realize they have alignment problems until after the damage is done. A quality mechanic can tell you whether you have a problem with wheel alignment, but there are also some signs you can keep an eye out for yourself.

  • A crooked steering wheel. If your steering wheel is turned slightly to the right or left even when you’re driving perfectly straight, your wheels are likely out of alignment. Technically, your steering wheel itself could be out of alignment even if your wheels aren’t, but it’s a problem you’ll want to have checked out regardless.
  • Your car pulling to one side. Poor wheel alignment can cause your car to pull to the right or left. Power steering makes this less noticeable, but you can test it in an empty, flat parking lot by driving straight and briefly letting go of the wheel.
  • Uneven tire wear. Improper wheel alignment will often cause the inside or outside edge of a tire’s tread to wear out more quickly. Remember that this can occur on any of the four tires.
  • Excessive tire wear. If your tires are wearing out more quickly than they should, it could be because they’re misaligned. Being out of alignment has the same effect as constantly turning, even when on a straight road, and turning causes tires to grind against the pavement rather than simply roll along.
  • Squealing tires. For the same reason, misaligned tires will sometimes squeal as they rub against the pavement.

Wheel alignment problems are more common on older, higher-mileage cars. One way to avoid such headaches is to get a late-model, low-mileage lease vehicle. For help in getting a straight deal on a lease transfer, please contact us at

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