The idea of having a wheel alignment, or potentially needing one, is scary enough all on its own. However, when it comes to the process of getting your vehicle in for a wheel alignment, there are a few things you will need to keep in mind so that you don’t leave the shop with any extra damage and have to put up with unnecessary trouble.
What is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment is the process of aligning the wheels on your car so that they turn in a straight line. This is important because it keeps your car balanced and running smoothly. The correct alignment can also help you avoid wheel wear and improve your driving experience. There are a few things to consider when you get your car’s alignment checked: your vehicle’s weight, the type of suspension you have, and your tire size.
Why Should You Have A Wheel Alignment?
Most people think that a wheel alignment is only necessary when their car starts to wobble or pull to the left or right. However, in reality, a regular wheel alignment will help ensure that your car’s wheels are tracking properly and providing optimum performance.
Here are four reasons why you should schedule a wheel alignment:
1. Improves Ride Quality– A properly aligned wheel will provide a smoother ride, making it easier to navigate in tight spaces and on bumpy roads. This can also reduce the chance of experiencing potholes and other jarring road surfaces.
2. Prevents Tire Damage– If your wheels are not tracking properly, they can cause your tires to wear prematurely and cause them to lose traction. This can lead to dangerous situations, including getting stuck in snow or ice, or skidding on wet roads.
3. Enhances Car Performance– When your wheels are aligned properly, they will move more smoothly within the suspension and braking systems of your car. This can lead to improved fuel economy and better handling.
4. Ensures Safe Driving– If your wheels are not tracking correctly, you may be driving with an increased risk of accidents. Not only will this make it more difficult to stop safely but it will also put you and others in danger.
5. Minimizes Tire Wear– When you have your wheels aligned, your tires wear more evenly and have a longer lifespan.
6. Increases Durability– If you have a wheel alignment performed on a regular basis, this will keep your wheel bearings from wearing prematurely which can lead to premature wheel bearing failure and premature tire damage.
7. Provides the Correct Ride Height– If you do not align your wheels correctly, the steering and suspension components of your automobile will have an improper ride height. This will affect your driving, as well as the overall performance of your vehicle.
8. Increases Driving Comfort– A properly aligned wheel is one of the easiest ways to improve the driving comfort and appearance of your car, truck or SUV.
9. Improves Handling– When wheels are not properly aligned, this can negatively affect the handling and braking ability of a vehicle.
10. Decreases Vehicle’s wear and tear– If you notice that your tires are wearing down faster than they should be, it is a very good idea to have them aligned.
11. Increases mileage– When properly aligned, your tires will wear more evenly, which means that you will increase the mileage you get from each tire by as much as 20%.
12. Improves Safety– A poorly aligned wheel can lead to poor seat belts, or even a rolled over vehicle. By having your car properly aligned, you ensure that all of the components are doing their job properly.
13. Helps prevent excessive tire wear– Certain models of tires wear down faster because they are designed to be thinner and lighter than others. If you have the proper alignment, your tires will last longer and hold their shape better which is exactly what you want in a set of tires.
14. Increases safe braking distance– Having a properly aligned car makes sure that everything on it is working the way it should be, which means that the brakes are functioning as they should and that you have a longer braking distance when you need one.
When is the Ideal Time to get a wheel alignment?
A wheel alignment is a service that your mechanic should always recommend when you have any problems with your car. Not only does it ensure that your car is driving straight, but it can also help to prevent future issues. Here are some guidelines on when you should have your wheel alignment:
-If you experience constant wobbles or vibrations when driving, it’s time for a wheel alignment.
-If you’ve noticed that your car pulls to one side more often than the other, it may be time for a wheel alignment.
-If your car has been making unusually loud noises when turning, it may be time for a wheel alignment. Worn wheels and tires can cause your car to be unsafe and stressful to drive, so it’s important to have them aligned as soon as possible.
How Often Should You Have A Wheel Alignment?
If you’re driving a car that’s over 10 years old, it’s recommended that you have a wheel alignment every 6 months. If you’re driving a new car, it’s recommended that you have a wheel alignment once every 3 months. If you’re driving a car that’s under 10 years old, it’s recommended that you have a wheel alignment every 12 months.
What to watch out for when getting your car’s alignment done
When it comes to your car’s alignment, there are a few things you should watch out for. If your vehicle is not aligned properly, it can cause an increase in vibration, poor handling, and even premature wear on your suspension. Here are four tips to help ensure that your car’s alignment is done correctly:
1. Have the alignment checked regularly – A regular alignment check can help detect any problems early on. Always have a mechanic or car dealership perform an alignment check at least once a year, and more often if there is a noticeable deterioration in vehicle performance.
2. Check for misalignment – One of the easiest ways to check for misalignment is to take a straight road test before having the alignment done. If there is significant misalignment, it will show up as an abnormal driving experience.
3. Beware of “quick fixes” – Many times, people try to fix their car’s alignment by doing something themselves such as adjusting the wheels or springs themselves. While these quick fixes may work for a short period of time, they often lead to more severe problems down the line.
4. Be sure to ask questions – When getting your car aligned, ask the technician if there are any other options you can do to get your alignment done such as getting a wheel alignment. This is especially true with newer models which have computerized systems that adjust suspension settings on the fly.