A shaky and off course drive doesn’t always mean the driver is to blame. Your wheels can become misaligned or crooked for an almost infinite number of reasons, resulting in an uneasy and jittery commute. Of course, not every wheel ailment can be tied to a misalignment. As a safe and responsible driver, it’s up to you to pick up on the different symptoms that could be hindering your drive before they become more drastic and threatening.

When Do You and When Don’t You Need an Alignment?

A common pitfall many fall prey to is assuming that every jitter or shake of the wheel calls for a realignment. Truth is, more often than not, your tire pressure could be to blame for your compromised drive. Under-inflated tires are notorious for their ability to pull your vehicle to one side while you drive. Since this symptom is very similar to what one would experience with misaligned tires, many mistakenly come in and pay for a service when all they need is a little more air in their tires. Always be sure to check your tires for pressure before immediately coming in for an alignment.

Vibrations in a car’s wheels are also commonly mistaken as a cause of misalignment. Again, while the symptom may be similar to a consequence of an out of line wheel, more often than not, something else is to blame. Vibrations are typically caused by wheels being out of balance of even bent. This could be due to driving over a pothole, worn suspension, or many other unrelated conditions. Again, making sure you know exactly why your wheels are misbehaving can save you some serious time and money when it comes to repairs.

The Benefits of Receiving an Alignment

Now that we’ve gone over the misconceptions about when to receive an alignment, what do you stand to gain by coming in for one? More than you’d immediately assume! Naturally, it goes without saying that re-aligned tires mean a smoother driving experience, but many seem to forget it translates to increased fuel efficiency! When your wheels aren’t working in unison, they ask for more hard work from your engine to keep your vehicle propelled which quickly results in lowered fuel economy. Bringing these wheels back in line alleviates your engine of that extra pressure while also promoting higher vehicle safety.

Your tires also receive some benefits for being brought back into alignment. Without the non-uniform wear on your tires, they stand to last quite a bit longer, saving you some money on frequent tire repairs and replacements.

Conclusion

Our cars are complex pieces of machinery. For every breakdown or malfunction there could be hundreds of different causes. Always keep yourself educated on what makes your vehicle tick and know exactly how to address any symptom before it has a chance to grow worse.