If your car feels as though it’s pulling to one side of the road, or your steering wheel is vibrating, it could be that your wheel alignment is out. This can happen gradually from everyday driving or from incidents, like when you hit a kerb. It isn’t just annoying – it can greatly increase tyre wear.
You should have your wheel alignment checked every time you rotate your tyres – and, of course, when you replace them.
Different vehicles will wear their tyres at different rates. For example, a front-wheel drive car will wear its tyres very differently from a rear-wheel drive. Station wagons and utes – because of the lack of weight over the rear wheels – will also wear at varying rates.
One of the best ways you can look after your tyres is by rotating them regularly. Swapping the rear tyres to the front and vice-versa ensures that tyres wear evenly and last significantly longer. As a guide, tyres should be rotated every 5000 to 8000 km even if there is no sign of uneven wear.
One of the easiest ways to tell when something is not right with your tyres is from behind the wheel. Most of us would have encountered steering wheel wobble or vibration when we’re driving. But what does it mean?
In most cases, vibration through the steering wheel can mean that a wheel is out of balance. Tiny, but important, weights are used to counterbalance the heaviest part of the tyre and wheel assembly. If that weight becomes loose, the wheel will wobble – and the faster you’re travelling, the more it will wobble. This will increase tyre wear and is potentially unsafe.
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