Do Speed Bumps Wreck Your Alignment?

Natalie Josef
August 10, 2011

There is very little people actually agree on these days, but it would be damn near impossible to find anybody who actually likes speed bumps.

We wouldn't tolerate that kind of thing in any other area of our lives. Imagine surfing the Internet and coming across virtual bumps that thwarted your progress (well, maybe all of those unwanted, annoying ads serve that purpose). Imagine having to jump over obstacles as you approached your front door or encountering sky hurdles while in an airplane. It’s just not right.

On my way to work, I encounter poorly constructed speed bumps in the parking lot of the office building, and they have just been getting to me lately, obviously annoying me to the point that I have decided to write about it.

The thing is, in the parking lot at work, the speed bumps have a space in the middle, so technically, I can steer my car so that only one side goes over the speed bump. This seemed to make things a little better until I started to worry that only driving over one side of the bump could cause damage to my alignment.

This is quite a dilemma. So, the question is—is it better to save one side of the car from the bump or face the speed bump head on?

I thought I might find an array of super scientific articles on speed bumps and how to approach them, like an algorithm that takes into consideration vehicle speed, ground clearance, and angle of approach, or research into the philosophy or quantum mechanics behind those pesky little bumps. But the truth is, for the most part, it doesn't really matter how you approach them as long as you don't act like a complete idiot.

Our cars are designed to absorb the shock of uneven road services, so unless you are speeding like a maniac, your alignment isn't worse for the weather. But if your car rides low to the ground, it is best to approach speed bumps at an angle. When you approach at an angle, the first tire hits the bump and then lifts the vehicle up and over the bump with more clearance then approaching it straight on. And if your vehicle is tall, you should approach the speed bump head on, perpendicularly, so the vehicle's balance isn't offset, which can cause the vehicle to tip over.

You shouldn't accelerate when you approach them, or go over them too fast (duh—that's why they were invented in the first place). But other than that, there isn't much advice to give. As long as you aren't speeding, you can hit them at an angle or straight on and it won't do damage to your vehicle. Just take them as they come … like the bumps in the road they are.

Natalie Josef

About the Author

Natalie Josef is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

2 User Comments

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By , May 22, 2014
I want to get a speed bump put on our street. People like to speed down our residential street a lot and it worries me. There are a lot of kids that live in the neighborhood that could run out and get hit. Tara |
By , September 19, 2014
try teaching the kids how to behave around roads, dare I say it some parental responsibility might be helpful