One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues

In my experience with vehicle maintenance, I’ve learned that wheel alignment is a critical aspect often overlooked.

This guide is a culmination of my understanding and experiences with alignment issues, particularly the puzzling scenario when one wheel is straight while the other is turned.

I’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and solutions to such alignment problems, emphasizing their importance for vehicle safety and performance.

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues

Understanding Wheel Alignment

Importance of Straight Wheels

Having straight wheels is crucial for many reasons. For instance, it ensures that your car drives smoothly and safely.

Proper wheel alignment also helps in reducing tire wear. Moreover, it improves fuel efficiency and keeps the suspension system working correctly.

Reason for Turned Wheel

A turned wheel can be caused by several factors. One common reason is a damaged tie rod.

This can occur due to rough driving or worn-out parts in the wheel or suspension system.

Additionally, an improper wheel alignment can also cause a wheel to appear turned, affecting the vehicle’s handling and tire wear.

To avoid these issues, it is important to regularly inspect your vehicle’s wheel alignment and make necessary adjustments.

Proper maintenance of the wheel and suspension system can help prolong the life of your tires and improve your driving experience.

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: Troubleshooting Wheel Misalignment

Indications of Misaligned Wheels

One indication of misaligned wheels is pulling to one side. When wheels are misaligned, the steering wheel may become off-center, making the vehicle want to move in one direction.

Other signs include excessive or uneven tire wear, vibrations at higher speeds, and poor vehicle handling1. In some cases, you might hear squealing tires when driving.

These symptoms indicate that it’s time to assess wheel angles and consider a wheel alignment.

Assessing Wheel Angles

To diagnose misalignment, find an empty parking lot, press the gas slightly, and avoid touching the steering wheel.

Keep an eye on the logo in the center of your steering wheel. If it turns more than 5- to 10-degrees over 40-50 feet (12-15 m), you likely have an alignment issue2.

Misalignment can come from the toe settings, specifically when the front wheels are pointing away from each other1.

This causes the car to veer to one side when one wheel is straight and the other is turned.

Misaligned WheelsProperly Aligned Wheels
Pull to one sideDrive straight
Uneven tire wearEven tire wear
Poor handlingSmooth handling

So, when you notice these symptoms, it’s crucial to address wheel misalignment promptly. Fixing misaligned wheels can save on tire wear and improve vehicle handling, providing you with a safer, more efficient driving experience.

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues

Solutions and Recommendations

Professional Wheel Alignment

One way to fix the issue of one wheel being straight while the other is turned is to consult a professional. I recommend visiting an automotive shop that specializes in wheel alignment.

They’ll have equipment and expertise to correct the alignment and ensure both wheels are pointing in the right direction.

A professional alignment not only addresses the immediate problem but also prevents potential future issues like uneven tire wear, poor gas mileage, or vibrations while driving.

DIY Alignment Techniques

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, there are some DIY alignment techniques you can try. For example, examining your car’s tie rods could reveal any bends or damage that need to be repaired.

You can also inspect the steering components and suspension for signs of wear or misalignment.

However, DIY alignment should be approached with caution.

Misaligned wheels can lead to unsafe driving conditions, so if you’re unsure or inexperienced, it’s wise to consult a professional.

So, when faced with one wheel being straight and the other turned, I would consider visiting a professional, especially if you’re inexperienced or uncomfortable with DIY techniques.

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my tire tilted outward?

Sometimes, tires can tilt outward because of a worn-out part or damage in the suspension system. A common reason can be a positive camber angle, which may result from worn-out ball joints or control arm bushings. It’s essential to get it checked and fixed to avoid unnecessary wear on tires and maintain proper handling.

Can one wheel be out of alignment?

Yes, it’s possible for just one wheel to be out of alignment. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, like hitting a pothole or a curb, causing damage to parts such as steering or suspension components. An out-of-alignment wheel may cause uneven tire wear, steering problems, and affect the overall vehicle performance.

What causes wheels to point in different directions?

Wheels can point in different directions due to damage or wear on parts like tie rods, ball joints, and control arms. These components are responsible for maintaining alignment and suspension. It’s essential to inspect and repair any damaged parts to restore proper alignment and vehicle performance.

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues

How can I tell if I have a broken tie rod?

A broken tie rod can manifest as uneven tire wear, crooked or unaligned wheels when steering, and a loose or shaky steering feel. A simple way to test for a broken tie rod is to jack up the vehicle, grab the tire with your hands at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions, and push-pull the tire with some force. If you notice excessive play or a clunking sound, it could indicate a broken tie rod or a worn suspension component.

Why is my wheel slanted inward or outward?

A slanted wheel may result from an issue with the camber angle in your suspension system. Positive camber refers to when the top of the wheel angles out, while negative camber has the top of the wheel angling inward. Both conditions can result from damaged suspension parts like ball joints, control arms, or bushings. Left untreated, it can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling, and reduced stability while driving.

How does a crooked wheel affect my car’s handling?

A crooked wheel can significantly impact your car’s handling by causing uneven tire wear, affecting the suspension and steering, and compromising vehicle stability. For example, a wheel that isn’t pointing straight might make the vehicle lean or pull to one side on straight roads. This can lead to premature tire replacement and even compromise your safety during driving. Therefore, it’s crucial to promptly address any alignment issues or damaged suspension components.

One Wheel is Straight, Other is Turned: A Guide to Alignment Issues


In summary, addressing wheel alignment issues, particularly when one wheel is straight and the other is turned, is crucial for the overall health and safety of your vehicle.

Regular checks and timely professional interventions can prevent further complications, enhance driving comfort, and ensure optimal tire longevity.

Whether you opt for professional help or DIY methods, understanding and promptly addressing alignment issues is key to a smooth and safe driving experience.


  1. 8 Signs Of A Bad Wheel Alignment And Why You Should Fix It – Mechanic Base 2

  2. How to Diagnose an Alignment Problem: 11 Steps (with Pictures) – wikiHow