When a vehicle's alignment is off, people say the car "pulls" to one side or the other. However, if you've never gotten to feel a bunch of cars in varying states of alignment, it's hard to tell whether there's too much pull. How much pull is acceptable before the damage you are doing to the tires warrants going to get your alignment adjusted?
- If I try to let the car go where it wants to go, the result is quite varied. Presumably this is related to the state of the car when I let go. When trying to gauge alignment, is it best to use my best case, worst case, or average case behavior?
- How straight is "good enough? For perspective, my best case scenario let me drive about a quarter mile while letting the car do what it wants before I got close enough to leaving my lane that I chose to intervene. My worst cases started to leave the lane in the range of 5-10 seconds.
- I definitely notice a preference for the car leaving the lane to the left. Should I assume that is my car's alignment, or is that something which could simply be a side effect of how I, as a person, choose to center the vehicle in the lane before testing?
A related question: Wheel Alignment: Just how bad is bad? (but in their case they are taking measurements off of the car directly. I'm looking more for heuristics).