If you have been driving for a while and been responsible for making sure your vehicle is taken care of, you may have heard the term “wheel alignment” mentioned.
It may have been a service that was recommended to you when you bought new tires, or after you hit a curb or pothole.
But what are car alignments? And what is the point behind them?
An alignment is a form of maintenance where we look at a few specifications – caster, camber and toe. Our Woodbridge mechanics use a new wheel alignment machine that we purchased last year.
This maintenance service is beneficial in several ways.
How car alignments are beneficial
Increases fuel efficiency: With how expensive gas prices can be, it’s worth it to look into ways that you can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. Tires that are correctly lined up with a car don’t have as much rolling resistance. Less rolling resistance equals better fuel efficiency. Tires tend to drag if they aren’t aligned right, resulting in more tire wear and reduced fuel efficiency.
Prevents tires from wearing unevenly: The tread should be the same across the tire. Having tire alignments performed regularly prevents tires from wearing more on one side or area than another.
Enables tires to last: Alignments also help you get the most out of your tires. A high quality tire will take you at least 45,000 miles, depending on the tire quality, the materials, and the manufacturer. Because tires experience wear and tear on a daily basis, they should receive an annual checkup in the form of tire alignments.
Makes sure the steering capability is right: We recommend an alignment for cars that are having new steering and suspension components installed. Through this process, adjustments can change. So, it’s a good idea to double check this as well as your vehicle’s ability to steer.
Helps safety features work correctly: Does your vehicle use park assist, collision avoidance, or blind spot detection? In order for certain safety features to work right, a vehicle’s alignment needs to be correct. When performing a tire alignment on cars with Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), our technicians must reprogram parameters after the alignment has been conducted.
How do you know if you need an alignment?
Car alignments offer quite a few perks, but how do you know when you need one? As we have mentioned, it’s a good idea to have this service done once a year, when you get new tires, and after suspension work is performed.
However, a wheel alignment may also be needed if you notice various indicators, like a car that pulls to one side or the other. Keep in mind that this is also a sign of a bad tire. The road may be causing this to occur, as well. Other symptoms of a bad wheel alignment include the tires wearing unevenly and the steering wheel appearing off-center or crooked.
Have you noticed any of these indicators or any abnormal sounds or behaviors? If so, it may be worth your while to contact a nearby auto repair shop or mechanic.
Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.