Does your vehicle feel like it's a bit out of alignment? Everyone knows that an alignment issue can occur over time, but there are also things that can directly cause alignment problems. Here are some of the most common -- but least expected -- issues.
1. Temperature and Seasonal Shifts
When seasons change, so do the temperature ranges. Temperature affects your car tires. In colder months, your car tires may decrease in pressure; in warmer months they may increase. Either way, this alteration in tire pressure is going to throw off your car balance. Your tire pressure will need to be individually checked and you may also invest in a tire rotation at this time. If you don't check your tire pressure appropriately, you may end up with uneven wear on each of your tires.
2. A Flat Tire
A flat tire can cause a lot of problems for a car, especially if you drive with a tire that is leaking frequently. Many people will continuously fill a tire with a slow leak, thereby driving on a tire with low pressure for a long time. The longer you drive on a low-pressure tire, the bigger your alignment problems will become. Driving on a spare tire for any length of time can also throw off your alignment
Everyone hits a pothole from time to time. Unfortunately, hitting a pothole can cause a lot more damage than you think. Hitting a pot hole can damage your suspension (especially over time), and can also damage your tires. Likewise, it can alter your alignment. If you frequently drive over badly paved roads, you will be increasing the likelihood that your suspension and your alignment could be damaged. You may need to increase your normal maintenance schedules.
4. Hitting a Curb
Similar to potholes, hitting a curb can also set off your wheel alignment. This is often something that's not noticed, because the impact may be so slight. Unfortunately even a minor fender bender in a parking lot can alter alignment -- alignment can be more sensitive than many people think. Avoiding roads with particularly bad potholes can significantly reduce wear.
So what should you do? If you've experienced any of the above issues, then your wheel could be out of alignment -- and you should get your car checked as soon as possible. Your local auto shop will be able to test and fix your alignment, which could otherwise cause expensive issues over time.