What Happens When You Don't Align Your Tires

A tire alignment, or wheel alignment, ensures that your tires all point in the correct direction that aligns with how you're turning the steering wheel. The alignment also ensures that the tires sit properly with the tread against the road. This is one of those car maintenance tasks that's easy to forget until your mechanic tells you there's something wrong with your tires. Don't neglect this task because misaligned tires lead to a host of problems.

Uneven Wear

The parts of your tires that touch the road eventually wear down. If this happens evenly, you can get a lot of driving time out of your tires. But if it happens unevenly, you could need to get those tires replaced sooner. Tires that point in or out, or that tilt to one side, end up with wear in places that aren't meant to wear down, leading to tire damage and unsafe driving conditions.

Difficult Driving

If your tires are pointed in or out, instead of straight ahead, you're going to find that driving is more difficult. It could feel like the steering wheel is fighting you, trying to move to the left or right instead of letting you steer straight ahead. Even if you can control the wheel, you shouldn't have to deal with this extra task that can take your attention away from what is around you. Plus, steering away from or maneuvering around a problem quickly could be more difficult.

Terrible Fuel Economy

The more drag there is on your car, be it from headwinds or from the road's surface, the harder it will be for the car to perform as you want it to. The engine will have to work harder to keep the car at the speed you want, and the car won't be as aerodynamic. The result is worsening fuel economy, which, as gas prices go up, is not something you want to deal with. By aligning the wheels, you create less drag on the car as the tires better line up with the road. It's just easier for a tire to roll down the road as it's supposed to, rather than have it pointed or tilted away from the road ahead.

You'll want an alignment done every couple of years, or sooner if you've been hitting potholes and curbs. You'll also want to have your tires aligned after getting new ones. It's not that expensive of a job and can even save you money in the long run by preserving your tires' lifespans. An alignment doesn't take that long, either, so you won't have to spend your day at the repair shop.