How Often Should You Get a Wheel Alignment? Wheel alignments are something most drivers don’t think about, but they’re essential to keeping your vehicle running smoothly. So, how often should you get a wheel alignment? In some cases, it’s best to do it every time you rotate your tires. For most drivers, that’s every six months or 6,000 miles — whichever comes first. If you’ve recently had new wheels installed on your car or have changed the tire size for any reason, a new alignment is necessary.
Every time you get your tires rotated
It’s a good idea to get a wheel alignment at the same time you rotate your tires. While it’s not necessary for every tire rotation, it’s important that the wheels be balanced in order to prevent uneven tire wear and improve gas mileage.
If you’ve noticed that one of your tires wears out faster than the rest, or if you have trouble steering during turns, a wheel alignment can help correct these issues by making sure that all four wheels are properly aligned with each other.
Every time you change your vehicle
A major factor in the wear of your tires is alignment.
If you’ve changed your wheels, tires or both, it’s important to have them checked by a mechanic. The new combination may be wearing differently than the old one and a wheel alignment can help minimize uneven tire wear.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to know how much difference there will be when mixing brands of tires; however if you use different brands (e.g., Goodyear versus Firestone), this could make a big difference in how your vehicle performs on the road.
Every three to four months
It’s recommended that you take your car in for a wheel alignment every three to four months. How often this applies depends on how often you drive and what kind of driving you do. If you drive longer distances, or just get the car out more often, then the time between alignments will be shorter than someone who only drives short distances and rarely uses their vehicle.
The condition of your tires also has an effect on this recommendation because worn-out tires can contribute to poor handling and alignment issues.
You should definitely get it checked if:
- Your steering wheel isn’t straight when driving straight
- The car pulls one way when braking or accelerating (this may also be known as “pulling”)
If you notice uneven tire wear
If you notice uneven tire wear, the cause might be a wheel alignment. The tires on your vehicle should show even wear across their treads. If one tire looks worn down more than the others, this could indicate that it’s not being properly aligned with the rest of your vehicle. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including improper alignment due to a bent rim or flat tire (which will cause your car to pull in one direction), underinflated tires (causing them to wear faster) and overinflated tires (causing them to wear faster).
When your vehicle pulls to one side of the road or wanders
A wheel alignment is a process of adjusting the angles of your vehicle’s wheels so that they are parallel with each other and perpendicular to the road. Aligning your vehicle’s wheels helps prevent it from wandering or pulling to one side while driving.
A wheel alignment is good for:
- Preventing your tires from wearing unevenly, which can lead to overheating, blowouts and other costly repairs
- Improving fuel economy due to an even tire wear pattern
- Increasing stability on turns and stops by keeping your tires pointing in the same direction
If you feel vibrations in the steering wheel, floor or seat when driving on a smooth road
Vibrations are most commonly caused by a bent rim, worn suspension or a worn tire. They can also be caused by a bad ball joint, steering damper or the front end alignment. If you feel vibrations in the steering wheel, floor or seat when driving on a smooth road, it’s time to get your vehicle checked.
A wheel alignment should be done frequently, depending on how often you drive and what kind of conditions you drive in
A wheel alignment should be done frequently, depending on how often you drive and what kind of conditions you drive in.
If you’re driving on roads with poor or uneven surfaces that cause bouncing, irregular wear and tear can occur to your tires. This will affect the alignment of your vehicle’s wheels too, so it’s important to get a wheel alignment regularly.
The most common reasons for needing a wheel alignment are:
- The tires were replaced
- The wheels were changed or moved around (for example when replacing a tire)
- A car accident or serious bump
When you should get your wheels aligned depends on several factors, including where and how often you drive. It’s important to recognize signs of misalignment, such as uneven tire wear or your vehicle pulling to one side of the road. If a wheel alignment is needed, take your car to a mechanic for regular maintenance so that it can be done correctly.