Wheel misalignment is not just a nuisance. You are likely to get used to the car pulling slightly to
one side, although this will no longer be acceptable when the tires wear out very quickly. If you
suspect that a vehicle’s wheels are misaligned, take action now.
Wheel misalignment symptoms
Wheel misalignment can be revealed in several ways.
If the car pulls to one side even at low speed, this can indicate misalignment. Rumbling and
pounding noises are a clear sign of damage to the ball joint or tie rod. The rattling of the bearing
can cause the car to skid. Continuous noises and changes in ride characteristics occur in the case
of shock absorber and suspension defects.
If the car only pulls to one side at high speed, the most likely cause tires. A slight difference in
air pressure can worsen the driving characteristics. A stationary vehicle with worn inside tires is
a strong indication of misalignment. In this case, the tires do not rotate completely straight but
always lean with respect to the direction of travel, causing heavy wear.
What causes wheel misalignment?
The suspension is adjusted according to the camber and the incidence. The purpose of the
adjustment is to align the wheels as parallel as possible of all four wheels in a straight line. Only
under these conditions does the car move reliably.
There are four main causes of wheel misalignment:
● age-related misalignment of the vehicle
● inadequate repair
● damage to the chassis
● damage to the bodywork
A car with a mileage of a few tens of thousands of kilometers could show a slight misalignment.
It is not serious and can be easily fixed. There is no precise maintenance interval for checking
the alignment of the car. However, the best time to do this is to install the new tires. If the tires
are worn on one side, it is important to check the alignment at the time of replacement.
A common cause of misalignment are mistakes made when replacing components. Accuracy is
very important especially when it comes to the ball joints. When replacing a defective ball joint with a
new one it must be screwed in exactly the same tightening torque as the old one. One more or
one less turn could affect the wheel alignment.
The most common reason for wheel misalignment is the car hitting the curb. If the front wheel
receives a strong blow from one side, it can change the geometry of the axle. If you are lucky, it
will be possible to fix it. However, some components will need to be replaced to make the car
safe for traffic.
In the event of damage to the body, misalignment or a non-adjustable axle are usually the signs
of complete failure. In most cases, a serious accident with frame damage cannot be
professionally repaired. These cars require a considerable investment to be roadworthy again.
Cost and duration of wheel alignment
Wheel alignment costs have dropped sharply in recent years. Just 15 years ago this service
cost no less than 100 euros. Today it is much cheaper. In most workshops the price of around
70 euros applies. With the discount, it is possible to carry out the procedure for 30 euros. Lower
prices are not to be taken seriously.
Wheel alignment takes approximately one hour. Today, professional workshops use laser
technology to align wheels with accuracy down to a hundredth of a millimeter. The workshops
that have these modern laser systems available are the most up to date. Older lighting systems
are generally no longer used.
Some quick repair service providers can still use them, but professional auto dealers always
have up-to-date equipment and offer the best service. On the other hand, you have to be careful
if the trim is offered by a gas station. The trader may try to earn more by using the second-hand
system. Petrol stations, especially independent ones, are not ideal for an accurate diagnosis like