Out of alignment

Out of alignment

By PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, February 17, 2020

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IN Jamaica we have no shortage of bad roads and if you are a car owner who needs to traverse them, they're a pain in the wheels.

Auto mechanic and car enthusiast Roshane Holness said that hitting even a small pothole can lead to alignment issues.

“When your tyres are aligned properly it helps them to perform more effectively, extends the life of your tyres, and contributes to the vehicle driving much smoother,” Holness told All Woman.

Unfortunately, when your tyres are misaligned, he says that there are no warning lights to bring your attention to it. What you will have to rely on, he says, are your senses and changes in the driveability of your vehicle.

Not sure what to look for? Holness shares five indicators.

The wheel is treading unevenly

In a perfect world, car tyres should wear evenly across. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen, and while it could occur if you often carry an excessive amount of load in your vehicle, if you are not guilty of this then the next most likely culprit is a misaligned wheel.

The vehicle pulls to the right or left

If you notice that your vehicle is moving sharply to one side of the road despite your efforts to keep it from doing so, Holness says that the reason for that may be the wheel suspension — the system on the car that connects the vehicle to the wheel.

Your steering wheel seems off centre when driving straight

If you are driving down a flat, level road and you notice that your steering wheel is slanted significantly instead of sitting close to perfectly straight, this is an indication that you need to align your vehicle.

The steering vibrates

If your steering wheel feels loose and vibrates, then your wheel alignment may be off balance. You are most likely to notice this vibration when the car hits something — a pothole, for example — and the wheels are thrown out of their position.

Squealing tyres

Squealing tyres are a telltale sign that your car has been misaligned. Squealing, if caused by misalignment, usually occurs where the tyres wear unevenly and the vehicle accelerates or makes turns. Other reasons for squealing tyres include worn brake pads.

In the absence of an indication of a misaligned car, Holness says that you may follow the recommendations of your tyre and vehicle manufacturer unless told otherwise by a professional.

The general recommendation, he notes, is to have your vehicle's alignment checked every six months or 10,000km — whichever occurs first.


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