If you’re hearing strange noises from your wheels or experiencing steering wheel vibration while driving, it could be due to bad alignment noise.
Proper wheel alignment is essential for your vehicle’s overall performance and safety.
Bad car alignment can cause uneven tire wear, poor handling, and decreased fuel efficiency, among other issues.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the symptoms and causes of bad alignment noise and what you can do to address the problem.
What Causes Bad Alignment Noise In Cars?
Symptoms of a bad wheel alignment can appear to several factors.
Still, some of the most common culprits include worn suspension components, bent or loose wheels, uneven tire wear, improperly inflated tires, and loose or worn wheel bearings.
Worn Suspension Components
The suspension system is an indispensable part of a car that helps to keep the vehicle stable and absorb shock while driving.
Over time, however, the various components of the suspension can wear down or become damaged, which can cause alignment issues and produce noise.
For example, worn ball joints or bushings can cause the wheels to shift and affect the alignment, resulting in a clunking or knocking sound.
Similarly, worn or damaged shocks or struts can drive the car to bounce and produce a creaking or groaning noise.
Bent Or Damaged Wheels
Wheels bent or damaged can cause various alignment issues and produce noise.
For instance, a bent wheel can lead the car to pull to one side and affect the alignment, resulting in a grinding or scraping sound, particularly when turning or driving on uneven surfaces.
Similarly, damaged wheels or rims can cause vibrations and humming or buzzing noise.
Uneven Tire Wear
Tires that are not properly aligned can wear unevenly, which can cause a variety of noise issues.
You might notice a thumping or rumbling sound as the tires rotate unevenly, particularly at higher speeds.
This can also cause the car to vibrate and produce a humming or buzzing sound.
Improperly Inflated Tires
Tire pressure is important in maintaining proper alignment and preventing noise issues. Tires that are under or overinflated can cause alignment problems and produce noise.
For example, low tire pressure can drag your vehicle to pull to one side, while overinflation can lead to uneven tire wear and noise issues, such as a squealing or screeching sound.
Loose Or Worn Wheel Bearings
Wheel bearings are responsible for helping the wheels rotate smoothly and can wear down over time.
You might notice a grinding or humming noise when this happens, particularly when turning.
This noise can become louder as the bearings wear down further and can also cause the car to vibrate or pull to one side.
Overall, these issues can all contribute to bad alignment noise in a car, and addressing them promptly to avoid further damage or safety issues is crucial.
If you notice any signs of bad tire alignment, having your car inspected by a professional mechanic or scheduling a wheel alignment service is a good idea.
What Does Bad Alignment Noise Sound Like?
Can a bad alignment cause noise? When a vehicle’s alignment is off, it can create various noises, and the type of sound often depends on the specific issue.
Squealing Or Screeching
One common bad alignment noise is squealing or screeching, typically when turning at low speeds.
These sounds may indicate that the tires are rubbing against the wheel well or suspension components due to excessive negative camber or toe angle.
Grinding Or Rumbling
Another type of wheel alignment noise is grinding or rumbling, which can appear when driving at higher speeds.
This noise is often caused by uneven tire wear, a common result of poor alignment. Damaged or worn suspension components, such as struts or shocks, can also cause it.
Clicking Or Popping
Clicking or popping noises are also typical when the alignment is off. This is the indication of worn or damaged ball joints, tie rods, or other suspension components.
These sounds can often be heard when turning or going over bumps.
Thumping Or Vibration
Lastly, thumping or vibration noises can also indicate bad alignment.
The issue is often felt through the steering wheel or the vehicle’s body and can be caused by various matters, including tire balance problems or worn-out shocks.
How To Fix The Bad Alignment Noise Issue?
Fixing a bad alignment noise issue typically involves addressing the underlying cause of the noise. The following are some common ways to fix bad alignment noise issues:
Have The Alignment Checked
If the alignment is off, it can cause a variety of noises and handling issues. If necessary, an alignment check and adjustment can help fix the problem.
Replace Worn Suspension Components
In case the suspension components such as shocks, struts, ball joints, or tie rods are worn or damaged, you should change into new ones to fix the bad alignment noise issue.
Replace Damaged Wheels Or Tires
Since bad tire alignment is possibly causing the noise in your vehicle, replacing it with an alternative tire is what you should do to fix the problem.
Balance And Rotate The Tires
Balancing and rotating the tires can help prevent uneven wear and tear, which can cause bad alignment noise.
Regular tire maintenance can also prolong tire life and improve overall vehicle performance.
Adjust The Alignment
Adjusting the alignment without replacing any components may be possible if the alignment is slightly off.
A professional mechanic can make the necessary adjustments to correct the alignment and fix any noise issues.
Will Tire Noise Disappear After Alignment?
Tire noise may or may not disappear after an alignment, depending on the noise’s root cause.
An alignment only adjusts the angles of your wheels and tires, which can fix some issues related to tire wear and handling but may not necessarily eliminate tire noise.
If the tire noise is caused by uneven tire wear due to a misaligned vehicle, an alignment can help even out the wear and reduce the noise.
However, the cause is due to a different issue, such as worn-out tires or worn suspension components; then alignment alone will not solve the problem.
Remember that tire noise can also be affected by tire type and quality, road conditions, and driving habits.
Therefore, if you’re experiencing excessive tire noise, a professional should inspect your tires and suspension system to determine the root cause of the issue.
Is It Ok To Drive With Wheel Bearing Noise?
Driving with wheel bearing noise is not recommended because it can lead to dangerous driving conditions and costly repairs.
Ignoring wheel bearing noise and continuing to go with a failing bearing can cause significant damage to your vehicle.
A worn-out bearing can cause your wheel to seize up, leading to loss of control and a potentially dangerous situation on the road.
In addition, if left unchecked, a bad wheel bearing can cause damage to other suspension components, resulting in more expensive repairs.
Bad alignment noise can be a frustrating and potentially dangerous problem for drivers.
If you notice any of the symptoms we’ve discussed, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected by a professional.
Proper wheel alignment can help improve your vehicle’s handling, safety, and fuel efficiency and prolong the life of your tires.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to address bad alignment noise – take action today and get back on the road confidently.