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Signs that your car is due for a wheel alignment

South Africa’s poor roads do lots of damage to the millions of cars that drive on them every day, wheel alignment being one of the first things to go when motorists inevitably hit that unmissable pothole.

Alignment is the angle at which the wheels are set up in relation to the axles and if not correct, it negatively impacts handling, on-road safety, the usable life of the tyres, and fuel consumption, as well as subjects suspension components to unnecessary wear.

“Most motorists will only have their wheel alignment checked when their car is serviced or when they replace their tyres, but this might not be often enough, especially if you drive on bad roads,” according to pre-owned car platform Motus Select.

Wheel calibration is thrown out of equilibrium over time due to undulating roads, off-road driving, or worn suspension components, however, sudden and substantial impacts such as hitting a pothole or bump at speed could also alter the balance.

Signs your car is due for a wheel alignment

The surest sign that your car is due for a wheel alignment checkup is if it pulls to one side when you’re driving on a straight road or when stepping on the brakes.

Another trustworthy tipoff, which requires more attention to spot, is uneven wear on the tyres. It is also good practice to check the wheel balance if you recently ventured over bad roads for an extended period of time as this could sidestep easily-avoidable damages.

“Wheel alignment specifications are very precise, and a few degrees or a couple of millimetres can make a difference,” said Motus Select.

It is therefore advised to only make use of reputable and trained technicians as they have the necessary equipment with a database of all the vehicles on the road along with their manufacturer’s recommended wheel setups.

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