Posted August 15, 2014
Proper steering alignment is one of the most important keys to keeping your car driving safely. Even minor alignment problems can, over time, lead to tire wear and, eventually, replacement. On the flip side, proper wheel alignment ensures optimal drivability. It will help your tires last longer and your vehicle drive smoother, ultimately keeping your wheels pointed in the right direction. Plus, your car will require less energy to keep going, potentially saving a ton of fuel.
- When you’re driving parallel to the road’s center line, is your steering wheel centered?
- Does your car drift or veer to one side even when you’re steering “straight”?
- Does your steering wheel shake?
- Do your tires show signs of uneven wear?
How to maintain better steering alignment:
1. Keep your tires properly inflated
This helps reduce wear and tear while saving you money with better gas mileage. It’s a win-win situation. Remember to always to fill up your tires when they’re cold. That means first thing in the morning or after several hours in the shade. Recommended pressure is usually between 30-35 PSI, but check your owner’s manual for the optimum amount for your vehicle.
2. Distribute weight evenly
Are you carting around unnecessary items in your trunk? Make sure any items you’re carrying or storing in your vehicle are evenly distributed across the car’s frame. Alignment is based on tire angles. If you have too much weight loading down your back end, that lowers your vehicle height, throwing off your alignment. The best option is to remove what you don’t need, and lighten your load.
3. Drive more carefully
Finally, drive less like a race car driver and more like a new father over those compromised roads. Frequent stops and starts are hard on your tires and your system. If you drive more slowly and pay better attention, you will be able to avoid the potholes more easily. We’ve already gone over how to determine damage to your tires, rim, and suspension system, but hitting a pothole can also mess up the alignment of your steering system. As a rule of thumb, you should have your tires checked for alignment issues every 6,000 miles. But if your steering is really giving you trouble, call a Veenstra’s repair specialist today at 616-454-6597 to schedule your 22-point inspection.