When your car drifts to one side while you are driving in a straight line, it is time to get a wheel alignment. Having your wheels aligned is best left to the professionals, because they have the tools and equipment necessary to do the job correctly. However, you can buy some time and do your own wheel alignment using a simple technique that requires just a few basic tools. If you align your own wheels, keep in mind it is a temporary solution and you should take your car to a mechanic eventually.
Things you need
Put both front wheels on the jack stands.
Turn the key in the ignition so that you activate the power steering. Do not turn the car on. Center your steering wheel.
Hold your broom so that it touches the fender edges on both sides of the wheel. Hold the broom over the tire and use the broom as a visual guide to confirm the direction the wheel is pointing in. If the wheel is pointing inward -- that is, toward the centre of the car -- you will need to tighten the outer tie rod by turning it with your wrench. If the wheel is pointing outward--that is, away from the centre of the car--you will need to loosen the outer tie rod. Loosen the nut between the outer and inner tie rod, regardless of whether you need to tighten or loosen the outer tie rod end.
Adjust the outer tie rod. Turn the steering wheel to the left, to the right and back to centre, and centre your broom on the wheel to see if it is straight. Make any additional adjustments, if necessary.
Repeat this procedure on the other front wheel. When you are finished, tighten the tie rod nuts and drive the car in a straight line to see if it is still listing to one side.
Things you need
- Jack stands
- Adjustable wrench