If you’ve just returned home after a long road trip, you may want to have your wheel balancing or wheel alignment checked. Especially if you notice your car has started pulling to one side. Loss of the proper wheel alignment or wheel balancing is a common occurrence after traveling bumpy roads. Preventive strategy is about preparation, driving skills and reacting appropriately if a big bump or a pothole sneaks up to surprise you.
Whether on a road trip or just on your daily commute, you can help reduce the damage to your vehicle caused by losing the proper wheel alignment or wheel balancing by following the driving tips below:
- Check your tire pressure on a regular basis. If a tire is too soft, it handles poorly and a sudden bump may rupture it if the wheel rims pinch against the jagged edge of a pothole. Over-inflated tires are susceptible to damage as well.
- Have a clean windshield! You want to make sure you can see the bumps or other obstacles in the road.
- Stay focused and pay attention to the traffic around you. Are the other vehicles swerving and stopping for a problem in the road ahead? Don’t tailgate—this restricts your ability to anticipate obstacles or sudden braking by the vehicle in front of you.
- Beware of puddles. There might be a deep and sharp-edged pothole lurking below.
- Reduce your speed on bumpy or gravel roads. Slower hits generally involve less damage from a wheel alignment or tire failure.
- Avoid braking on impact. If you have to drive over a bump or hit a hidden pothole, take your foot off the accelerator, brake only lightly, if at all, and be sure to let off the brakes entirely the moment before impact. Clamping down on your brakes at higher speeds not only could result in a rear-end collision, but also compresses the front-end suspension system.
- Do not make a sudden swerve in an attempt to avoid the obstacle. It not only creates a hazard for vehicles immediately behind and beside you, you risk hitting the bump on an oblique angle, potentially causing greater damage to your tires and wheel rims, and throwing off your wheel alignment or wheel balancing.
If you do hit the bump or obstacle quickly and suddenly, immediately pay attention to whether or not you have a flat tire. You may want to pull off the road at your next opportunity to check your tires or rims for damage. If you do notice your vehicle pulling to one side or suspect you have a bent wheel, visit one of our locations.