Alignment assures your tires meet the road at the proper angle, your wheels are pointing straight and your tires are centered in the wheel wells. It adjusts the angles of your vehicle’s wheels to original specs for best gas mileage, proper road contact, a smooth ride, and the longest tire life.
An alignment service is required when:
You have new tires installed.
You either lower or raise your automobile.
Suspension components that influence tire angles are changed or modified.
You’ve been in a fender-bender or a heavy collision with a curb or road debris.
Your previous one was almost a year ago.
You observe uneven tire wear, steering pull, or a steering wheel that is not centered.
Following the installation of new tires, we recommend an alignment. This allows you to get the most out of your new tires. Wheel alignment checks are usually recommended following a large accident or uneven tire wear.
Also, get a check once a year, or twice a year if you go on tough roads. Because alignment concerns aren’t always visible, regular inspections are essential. Atypical tire wear and incorrect toe angles often go unreported. Because cars typically get out of alignment gradually, you may not know how much it was affecting drivability, gas mileage, or tire wear until it’s rectified.
The most typical symptoms of misalignment include tugging to one side while driving, unexpected tire wear, and/or a steering wheel that is off-center despite the fact that your car is oriented straight. However, these symptoms might have other causes, which can be simple or complex.
Road conditions might create steering pull. If the grooves in the asphalt are somewhat wider apart than the axles on your automobile, you may sense a pull as the tires on one side ride slightly higher. If the road is considerably higher in the middle, the car may deviate to reach a level surface.
Torque steer is a pull that occurs during acceleration as a result of a differential in power transmitted to the wheels. A pull solely during braking is most often caused by a caliper on one side sticking and not completely disengaging from the brake disc. Another source of steering wheel pull is a faulty tire or insufficient tire rotation.
If your steering wheel tugs in one way and then the other, poor alignment may not be the problem. A twisted or worn suspension component, such as ball joints, strut bearings, or tie rods, might be to fault.
Atypical tire wear might be caused by worn shocks or struts, bushings or springs, or by transporting large loads (all of which can also put your vehicle out of alignment). Driving on overinflated, underinflated, or unbalanced tires can also result in uneven wear.
Worn steering or suspension components might produce an off-center steering wheel. Getting an alignment will not solve the problem.
Another common misunderstanding: Vibration when driving is generally an indication of out-of-balance tires, not poor alignment. Lifting or lowering a vehicle changes the toe, camber, and caster angles. Repair or replacement of suspension and steering components such as struts, shocks, ball joints, tie rods, bushings, or control arms will also be required. If one of these components is damaged, your vehicle’s alignment is probably out of standard. If you don’t correct them before your car is aligned, the problem will reoccur.
Advice Before Hiring a Service
Because the measurements are so precise, misalignment cannot be detected simply by inspecting the wheel and tire angles. However, an expert tire technician can typically tell if you need an adjustment merely by glancing at your tire wear.
If the service is suggested, here’s what you should know:
Replace any damaged suspension components first. Worn or damaged parts will bring your car back out of specification.
A thrust alignment or a four-wheel alignment may be recommended by the technician. Here’s a primer to help you grasp what they’re saying.
Before servicing, inform the technician that you would prefer a printout of your alignment measurements before to the work being done, as well as the final settings for your records. You can confirm that the job was genuinely essential. Here’s an illustration of what you’ll see.