Owning a car involves more than driving; you need to know all the vehicle’s critical parts that need regular servicing and maintenance.
Wheel alignment is one of the critical issues that a driver needs to monitor for the comfort and safety of the tires regularly. But if you have not done the proper alignment, how long will your tires last? Here’s a complete guide!
How Long Will Tires Last With Bad Alignment?
Tires with bad alignment will have a shortened life cycle by thousands of miles, especially if you drive through bad roads and don’t take the car for regular maintenance. Poor alignment also compromises the important steering and suspension parts. You’ll know when your alignment is bad if your steering wheel is unstable, the car veers to the side, and if your tires have uneven wear.
For more information about how long tires with bad alignment will last, how do you know when the alignment is wrong and how to prevent it, keep on reading!
What is Tire Alignment?
Tire alignment describes how your vehicle’s wheels are angled and how your car’s entire system connects with the suspension.
For your car to be aligned, you need to adjust vehicle suspension components and bring the wheels and tires into specific angles, facilitating the performance, optimal vehicle handling, and tire wear.
Alignment is crucial because it affects how the car maneuvers and steering; therefore, misaligned tires cause imbalanced friction because the pressure on the tires is not even.
At the local tire or mechanic, alignment could cost you about $70-$100, while other dealers could charge you up to $200.
How Long Will Tires With Bad Alignment Last?
This is a common question that drivers ask for safety reasons. While there’s no definite answer on the specific miles your tire will last, it will shorten the tire life cycle by thousands of miles.
You can gauge the distance depending on how bad the alignment is or how bad the tires have been damaged.
For example, your tires will deteriorate quicker depending on how frequently you use your vehicle because tire wear happens gradually.
If the alignment is really bad, this could destroy your tires in a few miles, especially if your suspension is affected; however, if it’s a minor alignment issue, it might take much longer before you notice any uneven tread wear or loose steering wheel.
How Do You Know When Your Wheel Alignment Is Bad?
Bad wheel alignment occurs because of poor maintenance, eventually leading to tire failure, one of the top causes of road-related car crashes.
But how do you know when the wheel alignment is terrible? Here are some pointers.
Uneven Steering Wheel
When driving on a flat and straight road, the steering wheel should remain straight and perfectly centered, which you can confirm by looking at the position of the emblem.
But if the emblem is tilted to the left or right, it means that your steering wheel is not straight, and your wheels need to be aligned.
Loose or Vibrating Steering Wheel
If your steering wheel is loose or vibrates, this can be very dangerous because you’ll lose control and have reduced response time when turning.
Once you feel any of this, you should take your car to a professional mechanic to confirm the cause to protect you from further problems.
Additionally, a vibrating steering wheel can result from other problems; therefore, it should be checked appropriately.
Uneven Tire Wear
Once you notice that the treads on some of your tires are wearing out faster than the others, your wheels might be misaligned.
To confirm this, you should measure the tread depth on all sides of the tire. Tires that are correctly aligned have the same tread depth.
Vehicle Pulling To One Side
You can test this by removing your hands off the wheel for a minute or two and see if the car drives in a straight line.
If it tends to sway to one side, the wheels need to be aligned; otherwise, you might lose control if you don’t maintain a firm grip on the wheel.
If you have a misalignment and uneven tire wear, your tires will start squealing as the vehicle accelerates or makes turns. This can also be due to other issues; therefore, you should have the car checked.
Should You Get Alignment Every Time You Get New Tires?
It’s advisable to get new tires every 10 years or before if they wear out and lose their optimal performance.
When you replace these old tires with new ones, you should get an alignment to get the most mileage out of them.
Fortunately, some dealers or service stations won’t charge you for alignment if you get the wheels from them.
An alignment ensures that your new tires meet the road at the appropriate angle and are centered correctly, giving you good gas mileage and making your rides much smoother.
What Other Times Should I Get An Alignment?
Apart from when you buy new tires, it would be best if you got an alignment when you lower or lift your car, when the suspension parts have been adjusted or when you hit a curb or pothole.
Additionally, you should get one when you notice the symptoms such as vehicle veering off to one side, uneven tread wear, or loose steering wheel.
How Often Do Your Tires Need An Alignment?
According to some tire companies, you should get your wheels aligned annually or twice a year if you drive on rough roads.
On top of these check-ups, you should check your car regularly because alignment issues tend to be gradual and could go unnoticed for a while.
An alignment session takes about an hour; therefore, you need to schedule one with your service provider as soon as you notice a problem.
Why Is It Important To Align Your Wheels?
Once you notice an issue with your wheel alignment, you need to take care of it immediately; otherwise, the longer you wait, the more the damage and the more it will cost you.
Here’s why you should book a session right away.
Vehicles with misaligned tires consume more gas because the car has to work harder to move, which is not economical.
Your car is at a higher risk of getting into accidents when the tires are misaligned, especially if you veer off the road or can’t control the steering wheel.
Longer Tire Lifespan
If your tires are aligned often, they won’t have too much wear and tear, and your tread depth will last for longer. This saves you a lot of repair costs.
When your car has even tread wear, and the vehicle is moving straight, you won’t encounter any bumpy rides.
To learn more, you can also read our related posts on which tires wear faster, if plugging a tire is safe, and how long do run-flat tires last.
Tires with bad alignment will have a shorter life cycle because they need to be replaced to avoid getting into accidents.
As you drive, you should watch out for any symptoms of bad wheel alignment and have it addressed by your mechanic as soon as possible.
Additionally, you should get an alignment every time you get new tires, or when you hit a pothole, or if you’ve not got one in more than a year to increase your tires’ lifespan.