Your car seems to be drifting to one side, even when you think you're driving straight
Your steering wheel vibrates while driving
You are driving straight, but your steering wheel isn't centered
If none of these indicators occurs but it's been a while since your last alignment, check your owner's manual to see how often the manufacturer recommends having this service. It is always a good idea to have the vehicle aligned whenever replacing the tires. This gives the tires the best chance to wear properly and provide a long, healthy life.
An out-of-alignment car is a common result of everyday driving. But the term alignment doesn't really refer to your car's wheels but rather to the suspension and steering. As part of normal driving, parts of your car's suspension may become worn, and springs can be stretched out. Even a small accident or bumping a curb can disrupt your suspension, knocking some of the finely calibrated components off-kilter, making your wheels sit at improper angles. An alignment restores these angles to their correct measurements, making sure that your wheels sit straight.
The most visible benefit of an alignment is less tire wear. And when tires do wear down, they'll do so evenly on a properly aligned suspension. Tires can be quite expensive — easily $100 or more per tire — whereas an alignment often costs $60 to $100, making it a cost-effective procedure that should be part of regular car maintenance.
Some repairs to the steering or suspension involve removal or replacement of components that affect the vehicle?s alignment. Accordingly, on many vehicles after the repair an alignment will be performed. Some modern vehicles also have steering sensors that in addition to the physical procedure of adjustments to the steering and suspension a steering sensor must also be carefully recalibrated. On vehicles with this feature if an alignment is performed and the sensor not recalibrated the vehicle will not steer properly.
There are many benefits of a proper alignment. A proper alignment ensures that your car drives straight, handles properly, and makes your ride safer. You'll also get better gas mileage because your tires will be properly aligned with the road, decreasing resistance.