How Can I Tell if My Car Is Out of Alignment?

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The best way to tell if your vehicle is out of alignment is to have your tires balanced and rotated per your manufacturer’s recommendations. This gives auto service technicians a chance to inspect your tires for signs that the wheels are misaligned. This said you can also test your alignment yourself and pay attention to signs of trouble. Padron Automotive explains how below.

Direction Pulls

It doesn’t matter if you drive a car, crossover, SUV, or truck, your vehicle should straight when you point it straight. The number one sign that a vehicle is out of alignment is it will pull or lead either in the right-hand direction or left-hand direction. Sometimes the pull is so subtle you won’t even notice it. To see if your vehicle is leading toward one direction, go to an empty parking lot or other level driving surface and drive forward slowly with your steering wheel straight. Let go of the steering wheel to see if your vehicle continues to move forward without turning. If it does, your alignment is fine.


Auto technicians will notice uneven or premature tire wear on vehicles that aren’t aligned correctly. When you have your tires rotated and balanced – usually every 6,000 miles – the technician inspects the tires for bulges, cracks, tread depth, and tread wear. A misaligned vehicle will wear down the tire tread unevenly because the vehicle puts more weight on one tire. Your tires might also squeal if your automobile isn’t aligned properly, so it’s always wise to listen to things while you drive. Vehicle alignment directly affects tires, so they often reveal if there’s a problem.

Steering Wheel

Finally, when your vehicle was assembled at the plant, the suspension was assembled to go straight when at rest. In other words, your car shouldn’t turn unless you turn it. The steering system is part of your vehicle’s suspension and, as such, the steering wheel should always indicate the direction in which you drive. It’s straight when you’re headed straight; it turns right when you turn right; it turns left when you turn left. You’ll also notice if you let it go, it will right itself to the straight position again once you’re headed forward. Look at your vehicle manufacturer’s logo in the center of your steering wheel. Is it straight? If not, your steering wheel is crooked because your wheels aren’t aligned.

Padron Automotive in Topeka, KS, is a full-service auto shop with experienced alignment technicians. Call us today if you’d like to set up an appointment for a wheel inspection.

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