Tire maintenance & safety

How to know if your tires are aligned

Last updated 10/17/2022 - Originally published 9/23/2020
Written by SimpleTire

Several issues may arise with tires that aren't caused by the tires themselves. One example is wheel alignment. Wheel alignment is directly related to the alignment of the wheels, suspension, and steering system within a vehicle's design scheme. If the wheels aren't properly aligned, even a high-quality set of tires may wear unevenly, and in the most severe cases, poor alignment will ruin tires and call for premature replacement. In order to avoid problems that can force an undesired and unnecessary expense, learn how to know if tires are aligned properly.

Alignment Tips

There are a few simple tips that will help you determine whether your wheels and tires are properly aligned or if they're in need of a two or four-wheel alignment. Before delving into the topic any further, SimpleTire.com recommends that you get an alignment when replacing tires. Proper alignment protects your new investment and helps ensure that the vehicle is performing as designed by the manufacturer.

One of the easiest ways to feel improper tire or wheel alignment is by simply driving a vehicle. Choose a straight, flat surface with plenty of room on which to drive. An empty parking lot, for example, is an excellent location. As you drive, feel for a pull in one direction or another. If you feel the vehicle pull to one side, you either have a severe tire inflation issue (in the tire on that side) or more likely, your vehicle is in need of an alignment job.

Another way to check for alignment issues is by simply inspecting your tires. For example, if you look at your front tires, and you notice a wear pattern that occurs unevenly, there is a good chance that either one or both of your front wheels are improperly aligned. Oftentimes, uneven wear can be seen on the shoulder of the tire (the component of the tire where the sidewall meets the tread).

If the tread seems fine, and the outer shoulder seems fine, but the inner shoulder is wearing more rapidly, it's an alignment problem. The same can be said if the example is reversed. If both shoulders seem worn, you may be driving on under-inflated tires.

What Causes Alignment Problems?

When considering how to know if your tires are aligned properly, understanding what causes alignment problems in the first place is important. Most frequently, alignment problems can be caused by repeatedly driving on rough roads. A harsh and/or unexpected maneuver can also create issues, and, of course, large bumps, road hazards, or the occasional curb check may be the root of a problem.

The good news is that your local dealership technician will be able to quickly and efficiently solve alignment issues. It's an in-and-out job these days that's done with specialized equipment and computer alignment technology.

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