Signs Your Truck Needs an Alignment & Factors That Cause Misalignment

Posted on: 12 February 2018

Your truck's suspension needs to be adjusted so that all of the tires are sitting at the proper angle. If it is not adjusted in this manner, then your truck is said to be out of alignment. Driving a truck with the tires out of alignment can cause, in the very least, uneven wear on your tires. Over time, it can also cause damage to the engine, transmission, and body of the truck since misalignment causes vibrations that work various components loose. 

So, how do you know if your truck is out of alignment and needs to go to the shop? Watch for these signs:

1. Pulling to the Side

When you brake, do you feel like your truck is trying to pull to one side? Perhaps you even feel this as you are driving along the road. You may be forced to keep putting pressure on the wheel to prevent veering off the road. 

2. Uneven Tire Wear

Usually, by the time misalignment causes wear to your tires, your truck has been misaligned for a long time. Still, you should keep an eye on your tires because it's better to spot misalignment late than never. Take a look at each tire from its front. Is there more wear on the left side than the right, or vice versa? This indicates misalignment.

3. Crooked Wheel

The next time you are driving down a straight stretch of road, take a peek at your steering wheel. Is the very middle of your wheel centered in front of you? If it is not -- in other words, your wheel is crooked when you are driving straight ahead -- then your tires are not properly aligned. This problem starts off very minor and unnoticeable, and it progresses slowly. So most people do not realize their wheel is not straight until it's a few inches off.

4. Squeaking Tires

Usually, squealing and squeaking noises from your tires either mean that your tires are worn out or that you need new brakes. But if your tires and brakes are new, this sound might mean your tires are just not aligned properly. In fact, if you just got new tires and they are squealing, it probably means your tire installer did not align them properly. Head right back to the shop; they should fix this for you free of charge.

Dealing with Misaligned Wheels

If you know what leads to misalignment, then you can take steps to help keep your tires aligned. 

Check the Air Pressure: If you don't have enough pressure in your tires, then your suspension may have to compensate, which can lead to suspension damage and your tires shifting out of alignment. Make sure you check the tire wall for the proper inflation pressure. Check your tire pressure every few weeks, and add air as needed.

Asses the Heavy Weight in the Back: If you use your truck to haul a lot of things, then the weight in the back of the vehicle may bring the front end up higher than normal. This changes the way your front tires are aligned. Let your auto mechanic know that you haul heavy loads in the back of your truck. They can align your tires with this in mind, preventing them from coming into misalignment.

Drive Safer: If you brake heavy and late, whip around corners, or do a lot of burn-outs, you may weaken the suspension and cause your truck to fall out of alignment faster.

If you think your truck may be out of alignment, bring it to services like Downtown Garage & Auto Body sooner rather than later. They can also give you more tips to avoid misalignment in the future.