Your vehicle drives better when all wheels are pointed in the same direction. That is what a wheel alignment is for.
If your wheels are out of alignment you may notice your vehicle pulls to one side. Eventually, you will notice your tires wear unevenly. The outside of the tire can wear out fast from constant steering correction, which can be very exhausting on a long road trip as you fight to keep the vehicle straight. This can also affect fuel economy and insert extra unnecessary strain on the engine.
Common things that throw a wheel out of alignment are slamming into a pothole, smacking a curb, or hitting something like a rock. Misalignment is not only caused from noticeable traumatic events, but the regular repetitive bumps and bangs of daily driving can add up and gradually take your wheels out of alignment. This is the reason your owner's manual or service advisor here may suggest having your alignment checked periodically.
We can measure each wheel's current alignment position to compare with factory specifications. When the vehicle is on the alignment rack we can also inspect the tires for wear, and the suspension and steering components for damage, which can also contribute to alignment problems.
Some vehicles may have special requirements for alignments like four-wheel-drive vehicles, which could cost extra. However, an alignment is cheaper than having to replace tires every few months. If you have not had your wheels recently aligned or you recognize alignment problems, bring your vehicle in for a wheel alignment.