Your vehicle's wheels need to remain in alignment for your car to run smoothly and safely. Any kind of disruption can cause the wheels to be thrown out of alignment, resulting in a bumpy ride and increased wear on the tires. Not only that, but you might still have to contend with other problems, such as poor handling and reduced fuel economy.
Here are four things that can cause your vehicle's wheels to fall out of alignment.
Hitting a Pothole
Potholes are one of the most common causes of wheel misalignment. They can easily disrupt the suspension system, causing the wheels to become misaligned. Hitting a pothole can also affect steering and braking, especially if the impact is severe.
Even if you think you have avoided a pothole, they are often others hidden in the road that can cause your vehicle's wheels to be thrown off-center. Unfortunately, the misalignment can happen suddenly after a hard impact.
Driving Over Curbs
Though they may seem harmless, driving over curbs can cause a significant amount of damage. When you drive up onto the curb, the front wheels are forced to bear an additional load, which can result in misalignment. They are often heaved up at awkward angles, throwing them out of alignment.
Furthermore, the force of coming down from the curb may cause additional damage to the wheels, especially if the curb is high or you go down at a high speed.
Even minor accidents like fender benders can throw your vehicle's wheels out of alignment. When two vehicles collide, the force can have a dramatic effect on the suspension system, causing the wheels to be thrown out of balance. The suspension components can bend and misalign the wheels, resulting in poor handling and increased tire wear.
In some cases, the misalignment can occur gradually over time as the suspension components continue to bear the brunt of the collision. They might have developed an issue that was too small to be noticed at first but was eventually exacerbated over time.
Worn or Damaged Suspension Components
Worn shocks, struts, tie rods, and other suspension parts can cause excessive movement of the wheels, resulting in misalignment.
Over time, the components become worn down and lose their ability to keep the wheels in place. When this happens, the springs and struts can't support the vehicle's weight, which can lead to misalignment.
The problem gets even worse when the suspension components suffer damage. Cracked or broken parts can cause the wheels to be thrown off balance, resulting in misalignment and poor handling.
Don't risk your safety by driving with misaligned wheels. If you are unsure whether your vehicle's wheels need to be realigned, have a qualified technician check them for you.
Contact a service provider to learn more about wheel alignment.