mechanic rotates tires of car

Let’s be honest, no one really enjoys taking their car in for routine maintenance. It’s always a pain to have to make an appointment, find someone to drive you there and wait around for an hour or more while they work on your vehicle. But just like getting regular oil changes and tune-ups, alignments and rotations are crucial for keeping your car running smoothly and avoiding costly repairs down the road. So how do you know when it’s time to take your car in for an alignment or rotation? Keep reading to find out.

Signs Your Car Needs an Alignment

A tire alignment is when a trained technician adjusts the angles of your tires so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. This is important because it helps improve fuel efficiency and prevents uneven wear on your tires. Most vehicles need an alignment at least once a year, but some (like heavier trucks) may need one more often. 

  1. Your steering wheel is off-center when driving straight. 
  2. Your car pulls to one side or the other when driving. 
  3. You notice uneven tire wear. 
  4. Your steering wheel vibrates when driving at highway speeds. 
  5. You notice that your gas mileage has decreased significantly. 

Ignoring these signs can lead to premature tire wear, handling issues, and even accidents if you’re not careful. So if you notice any of these things, it’s definitely time to bring your vehicle to Pocatello Master Muffler to get your tires aligned.

How Are Tires Aligned?

A mechanic ensures the toe, caster, and camber alignment is accurate and makes adjustments as needed.

Toe Alignment: This type of alignment is when your mechanic adjusts the angle at which your tires point in relation to each other. If your tires are pointing too far inward or outward, it can cause problems with steering and can lead to premature tire wear. 

Caster Alignment: Caster alignment has to do with the angle of the steering axis in relation to the ground. This affects how easy it is to steer your car. If the caster angle is incorrect, it can make your car harder to control, especially at high speeds. 

Camber Alignment: Camber alignment refers to the angle of your tires in relation to vertical height. If the camber angle is off, it can cause premature tire wear on one side of the tire.

Signs Your Car Needs a Rotation

A tire rotation is when a trained technician moves your tires from their current position to different positions on your vehicle. This is important because it helps promote even wear on all four of your tires. Most vehicles need a tire rotation every 5,000 miles or so, but again, some (like all-wheel drive vehicles) may need one more often.

  1. You’ve driven more than 6,000 miles since your last rotation (or 3 months, whichever comes first). 
  2. Your tires are starting to show uneven wear patterns (e.g., one tire is consistently wearing down more on the inside than the outside). 
  3. Your steering feels loose or unresponsive. 
  4. Your car is vibrating more than usual when driving at highway speeds. 
  5. Your gas mileage has decreased significantly. 

Like with alignments, ignoring these signs can lead to premature tire wear and handling issues – both of which can be dangerous (and expensive) if left unchecked. So if you’re due for a rotation, or suspect that you may be, get it done sooner rather than later.

Circumstances That Lead to Misaligned or Uneven Tires

You may be more prone to needing alignments or regular rotations if you live in an area with a lot of potholes. Hitting those bumps in the road can do a number on your vehicle, especially at high speeds.

Even if your roads are smooth and well-maintained, the type of driving you do can impact your alignment and the wear on your tires. If you live in the city and do a lot of stop-and-go driving, you’re going to put different wear and tear on your tires than someone who drives mostly on highways.

Other factors that can influence tire alignment include:

  • Tire Size
  • Vehicle Weight
  • Front-Wheel vs Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Towing Capacity
  • Four-Wheel vs All-Wheel Drive
  • Aggressive Driving Habits

Don’t Put It Off


(208) 254-5069

Regular alignments and rotations are important for keeping your car running smoothly and avoiding costly repairs down the road. Ignoring the signs can lead to premature tire wear, handling issues, and even accidents – so don’t wait until it’s too late!


Categories: Tires

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