A car with unaligned wheels will need tyres more often than a car with a good alignment. Not only will the tyres need replacing more often, it wears on the rotors and these are costly repairs. What causes misaligned wheels? They occur when there is a misalignment of the suspension and even the chassis. If there is a misalignment of the wheels the fuel economy will be less, the ride will not be smooth either. The front wheels are the most misaligned problems for issues. Sometimes the misalignment may be so slight you cannot tell. Here are a few things you can do to tell if your wheels are out of line.
One of the quickest ways to find out if you have misaligned wheels is to drive on a straight stretch, then let go of the wheel briefly to see if the vehicle veers to the left or right. A properly aligned vehicle will stay straight. A misaligned will pull to the side, either slightly or obviously. If when you drive you feel you have to fight the steering wheel to keep it straight, test the alignment. This indicates that one or both front tyres point inward called toed-in or pointing out called toed-out. A front wheel alignment will correct this issue.
Taking tyre measurements comparing the front to the rear is another way to tell if the wheels are misaligned. The vehicle needs to be parked with the front wheels facing straight ahead. Take the measurement from the center of the right front tyre to the center of the left front tyre. Then again, measure the rear wheels in the same manner. The two measurements should match; if they do not you have misaligned wheels. If the front tyres measure lower than the rear the wheels are toed-in, if the front tyres are a larger measurement, they are toed-out.
One of the most obvious signs of misaligned wheels is uneven tyre wear. If you rotate your tyres on schedule and if you keep the tyres properly aired, they should wear evenly. If you do all of this and there is uneven wear, you know you have misaligned tyres. If you do not do all of those things and have uneven wear, start with a new set of tyres, practice proper rotation, and airing, and then watch the wear. Uneven wear is an indication of possible caster and camber needing adjustment. Sometimes this is an indication of needing new shock absorbers.