Your BMW’s alignment ensures your wheels and tires operate properly. When your car is aligned, the suspension components of your car are adjusted to ensure everything lines up properly. This reduces tire wear, improves performance, and allows you to enjoy better handling. In most cases, your BMW needs an alignment a few times a year. However, many factors can impact your alignment and therefore it is best to recognize the signs your BMW is misaligned. Here are five ways to tell you’re ready for an alignment.
1 – You Notice Uneven Tire Wear
Uneven wear occurs due to misalignments. Keeping an eye on your tire treads can help you spot alignment issues. If your front and back tires have varying wear, you probably have a misalignment. If you aren’t sure, an auto repair shop can check for you as they know what to look for when it comes to tire tread wear.
2 – You Feel the Car Pulling to One Direction
If you are driving along and feel like the car is trying to pull in one direction, this can be caused if your tire pressure is off. However, if your tire pressure is fine, this is a classic sign you need an alignment.
3 – You Experience a Slight Pulling
While that sharper feeling of going towards one direction can be quite noticeable, a slight pulling might not stand out as much. If you sense there might be some pull, test drive your car in an open, flat area with little traffic like a parking lot. Drive slowly and release the steering wheel to see if the car drifts to one side. If it does, your car is misaligned.
4 – Your Steering Wheel Vibrates
Although unbalanced tires can cause your steering wheel to vibrate, it’s also a common sign of misalignment. If you are experiencing vibrations, it’s best to have your auto repair shop take a look.
5 – You’re Steering “Off Center”
It is natural for experienced drivers to try to correct off-center steering instinctively. However, if you sense your steering is off-center, pay closer attention when you steer. If you feel it is off-center, your wheels probably need an alignment.
What Can Cause Misalignments?
There are many factors that can contribute to misalignment. However, the most common issues are worn parts or sudden impact. If you experienced a sudden impact when driving whether it is a deep pothole, or even bumping a curb, you can put your car out of alignment. If you encounter impact, including a fender bender, or even hitting a speed bump too fast, watch for the five signs above. As well, your suspension has many components that can affect your alignment such as old shocks or struts, or parts becoming loose. That’s why it’s important to have regular suspension checks as part of your BMW’s maintenance.
What About Wheel Balance?
Wheel balance is directly related to the wheel and tire and the small weights used inside the barrel to provide even weight distribution. You can experience similar issues if your wheels are out of balance. Either way, you want to visit your auto service to have it checked out.
Why Is Alignment Important?
Misalignment leads to premature tire wear. This can make driving hazardous, as when your tires have uneven wear, they don’t respond as you expect. Rough, torn tires have limited treads which can affect the way they cling to the road when driving in wet or icy conditions. Even trying to stop on a clear roadway can become more difficult if your tires are bald. Although you might feel you just had an alignment, if you experience the signs of misalignment it’s always safer to set up an appointment. That’s a smarter choice than continuing to drive on what might be unsafe tires.
What Happens at an Alignment?
At your alignment, your mechanic takes a series of measurements and movements to find the correct position for your BMW. Because each car is different, they consider your car’s recommended set of specifications to ensure you can sustain proper alignment. Today’s alignment machines make setting the specifications easier, using leading-edge technology to make precision adjustments.
How to Prevent Misalignments
While you can’t always avoid those unexpected potholes, you can take special care when driving to avoid hitting the curb or speeding over those speed bumps. However, you can also pay attention to your tire pressure and ensure they remain at the PSI recommended by BMW. In hand with preventative maintenance, your alignment is more likely to remain perfectly set.
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