What is wheel alignment and why do I need it?

5-Tell Tale signs.

Car on the Car Steering Wheel Balancer and Calibrate with laser
Rice tire camber illustration

Wheel alignment is a super important part of your vehicle and its maintenance.  Properly aligned vehicles ride better, drive better, reduce tire wear, and are significantly safer.  Here are 5-tell tale signs you need a wheel alignment.

Tires are worn on one side and not the other.  This is technically called uneven tire wear and can happen when your alignment is out of camber.  (The wheel is leaning to the left or to the right when looking at your car from the front). The vehicle pulls sharply to one side or the other.  Tire pressure can mimic an out of alignment situation so if you feel pulling, check your tire pressure and inflate to manufacturers specifications and take your car for spin again.  If it still pulls, bring it in for an alignment.


Slight Pulling to one side or the other.  Again, tire pressure can play a role are produce a “false positive” so check, inflate, and test again.  If your car is NOT holding a straight line on a level road, you need an alignment.  Steering wheel vibration can sometime indicate you need an alignment but it can also mean you need your wheels balanced.  Either way, if you have vibration in the steering wheel, bring it in so we can take a look. Crooked steering wheel syndrome can happen to the best of us and is when we compensate for a misaligned car by subconsciously correcting the steering wheel position, so it looks “crooked” while driving down the road.


All in all, your safety is our number one concern so bring your car by the shop if you feel or see anything wrong.  The guys at Rice Tire are always happy to see you and always happy to help.  Check back to our April article on the difference between 2 wheel and 4 wheel alignment.

If your reading this online and you happen to be shopping for tires, you’re in luck!  We carry the best tire brands available, Michelin, Dunlop, Goodyear, Continental, Firestone, Uniroyal, BFGoodrich, Falken, General, and others. Rice Tire is your best bet in local tire shops and normally has them in stock.  An easy to use “search widget” on our website can tell what we have and produce an instant price quote for you. 

Simply search by tire size or make, model and year of car and we’ll match the right tire with your car, truck, or SUV. While you’re here getting things checked out, we’re also able to do numerous other jobs for you like oil and filter changes and can replace your brake pads if you need them too.

Last but certainly not least, we take pride in what we do under your car as well as in our super clean waiting rooms stocked with the best coffee around.  Check out our reviews, we were voted the Best Place to Buy Tires by the Culpeper times!

Thanks for checking in.

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Rice Tire is the #1 place to go for your tire or wheel needs, automobile maintenance, and repairs in the mid-Atlantic region.  We have over a dozen locations throughout Washington DC, Baltimore, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We are in, or near your neighborhood making us your best local tire shop.  Give us a call, we are happy to schedule an appointment to check your vehicle and get you safely back on the road as soon as possible.  Come see us in Cumberland MD, District Heights, MD, Gaithersburg MD, Halethorpe MD, Hagerstown MD, Frederick MD, Winchester VA, Brandy Station VA, Manassas VA, Verona VA, Harrisonburg VA, Ashland VA, and Camp Hill PA.  


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