On Sunday, my car drove just fine, no problems.

On Monday, I did not drive my car.

On Tuesday, my car started bouncing pretty hard once I got up to 50 mph the first time driving it since Sunday. Suspecting the tires were out of alignment, I looked and indeed my front passenger's side tire is visibly pointing a slightly different direction than my front driver's side tire. Specifically, with the steering wheel in a straight position, my front driver's side tire is straight but my front passenger's side tire is pointing out by maybe 5 degrees (the misalignment is visibly obvious).

The only thing that happened to my car between driving Sunday and driving Tuesday, to my knowledge, was shortly before driving my car on Tuesday. There was a snow storm, and the people hired to do snow removal at my apartment complex were taking a lunch break parked right behind my car. Immediately behind my car were two trucks parked perpendicular to my car, taking up the entire aisleway in the parking lot.

When I was getting ready to leave, the truck immediately behind me moved out of my way, but the next truck did not move, so there was no enough room in the aisleway for me to back my car straight out. Thus, I back my car partway out, then turned right to try to plow through the snow on the right side of my stall (there were no cars parked on that side of me, so I had room to drive through the stalls). I got stuck doing this. Some people from the snow removal company came over to help me get my car out (which was nice, considering it was their fault I couldn't back out of the stall properly and avoid getting stuck).

Here's where stuff started actually happening to my car. My tires were spinning out a lot as I revved my engine to try to get traction (I know that's not the right thing to do, but I was stressed in the situation and not thinking well). The snow was quite uneven and my front passenger's side tire was perched higher than the rest of my tires for a minute or so. And one of the workers was pounding really hard around my tires to try to dig out the snow. The front passenger's side tire was the one that got pounded the hardest; I knew he was making contact with the tire directly.

After this, I parked my car in a different stall and then later went driving on the highway, which is when the front of my car started bouncing and I noticed my tires were misaligned.

Were any of the things that happened to my car while trying to get it out of the snowbound stall sufficient to knock my tire significantly out of alignment? If so, which ones? And if multiple, which is the most likely culprit?

Edit: I went to a garage and had my wheels and suspension inspected. They concluded that it was just my wheels were misaligned, they aligned them and now things work well.

  • Is it possible you had a large build-up of snow or ice in a wheel throwing it out of balance?
    – user28910
    Mar 15, 2017 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


Have you had your alignment checked? Until you do that, you don't know that it is out of alignment.

The 'bouncing' is unlikely to be alignment; most drivers cannot detect a car which is out of alignment. It's more likely to be snow inside the wheels, throwing the wheel off-balance. A lost wheel-weight can also give this effect, but to a much lesser extent.

  • The tires are visibly pointing different directions. Mar 15, 2017 at 2:58
  • The solution is still the same; you need to get the alignment checked, and then pay for a realignment (and any underlying repairs). You won't be able to prove negligence against anyone, so you'll be paying out of pocket.
    – PeteCon
    Mar 15, 2017 at 13:25

For your tracking to be out of alignment as much as you describe it sounds as though either your vehicle has suffered some severe mechanical failure OR one of your front wheels has been hit with an aweful lot of force. Someone kicking a tyre (even hard) would not be enough to knock the tracking out as far you describe. Perhaps your vehicles front wheel has been hit by another vehicle? Or the damage was done before you parked on the Sunday maybe by walloping a curve or you've hit something on the motorway etc.

Something doesn't really add up here but whatever has happened you'll need to get your tyres, wheels and suspension checked out, as is sounds like something maybe damaged.

  • I don't recall hitting anything on the Sunday drive. Most of that drive was on highways as well, and I didn't notice anything strange about my car's performance/alignment/etc. I also think it is relatively unlikely that my front wheel got hit by another car, since I parked in the back area of the parking lot where few people park. Mar 15, 2017 at 11:46

What you described does not sound like anything that would knock your alignment off significantly. For the alignment to be off that much would require physical damage or worn components.

This sounds to me like a tie-rod or ball joint may have already been worn/damaged and close to failure. The added stress of the described situation may have caused it to fail more.

Driving it in this condition is not safe. There is risk you could lose control and get into an accident. It would be best to have it towed to a shop for inspection and repair.

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