You might want to check the tread on your tires, see if the wear is more evident on one side than the others. Also look at your steering wheel when your car is going straight and see if it's straight also. The best way though is to let go of the wheel when your driving, if the car veers quickly towards the side of the road it's a good guess you might need it
most times its something as easy as seeing if the car pulls to any side. However, be careful as road crown will affect this and acceleration due to whell torque.
Look at your tires and measure the tread. you can do this with a small stick or coin.
Most places say 2x per yr, but from my experience, I'm doing it AT LEAST 4 times a yr since my car doesn't like to stay aligned. You can get a shop that offers 3 yr plans for either X amount or alignments or unlimited. That's what I have, 3yr unlimited, BUT they've knocked my car out of alignment more then not so I go to the dealer and pay them $60.
Regardless if you go to another shop, CHECK THE PRINTOUTS... ask for before and after specs, and check the after are within the guidelines. One shop put it out and I never noticed. 2 months later my tires were worn.
If it's not pulling and your tire wear is normal, don't get it aligned. Just leave it. Same with balancing tires. Might come out worse than before cuz those machines are pretty tough to get used to...if u do decide to get either one done, take to a place where the people have worked w/the machine for some time so they know how to use the machines.
What I'm trying to say is, any of us can use those machines, but experience (not taught in the manual) makes a diff. that's my opinion.
Thanks for you all help. My steering wheel is not straight when I drive striaght. It's slightly curved to the right when I do straight driving and I think I'm noticing more wear on the front tire on the passenger side.
I got new front end tires in the fall of 1999. Got my Altima aligned then. Haven't done it since even after getting 2 more tires. Moral of the story: take it to a reputable place, pay the extra money and get it done right the first time. Unless you like to drive up on curves the front end alignment shouldn't change.
NEVER just assume you need an alignment right off the bat.
1st check your tire pressure. it doesn't need to be the MAX psi!
if they were low or high get them right ,then drive it.
if it still pulls then have the front tires rebalanced somewhere that has any of the HUNTER balancing machines( thats assuming you have wheels/tires larger than 17's). if they don't then find somewhere that does. HUNTER makes the absolute best high speed balancing machines out there bar none!