Everyone likes the comfort of a vehicle that drives down the road straight with very little effort to control it. When the steering components start to wear all sorts of corrections in the steering wheel are necessary to maintain the vehicle. All these components must be tight with no movement in the parts to insure a proper wheel alignment.
Wheel alignment is very important for proper tire wear and vehicle stability. Signs a driver may experience while driving a vehicle that has an alignment issue are drift or pull, wandering, shimmy, or sticky steering. Pull is a tugging sensation in the steering wheel to maintain a straight path. Drift will cause the vehicle to veer to the right or left. Wandering is a tendency for frequent steering wheel corrections to maintain a straight path on level road. Shimmy is an oscillation felt through the steering wheel. Sticky steering is when the steering wheel return to center after a turn is sticky. Abnormal tire wear is another indication of an alignment issue. Alignment is corrected by adjusting the camber, caster, and toe.
Rotating your vehicles tires every 5~7,000 miles will ensure that all four tires wear evenly. Front tires tend to wear faster than rear tires, because of the weight transfer that occurs during braking and the effects of steering. Always reset the tire inflation pressure to the recommended specifications. Regular rotation will extend the life of your tires and allows replacement of the tires in complete sets.
Modern wheel bearings are a sealed unit. In older vehicles the bearings were serviceable and could be cleaned and repacked. When these sealed units start to go bad they will make a low toned roar. As they worsen the sound gets louder and louder. A slight movement left or right of the steering wheel will change the tone.