A wheel alignment is a critical maintenance activity for keeping a vehicle in good condition. Wheel alignments are necessary for proper and safe functioning and should be done at certain intervals or when misaligned wheels emerge at an auto repair services center.
Regular tire alignments are required to keep your car in good working order. However, due to various factors, your owner’s manual may not indicate the frequency of a wheel alignment. It’s time to align if your car pulls to the right or left when driving or if your steering wheel rattles.
Whether you require clarity, a tire expert can determine whether you need an adjustment or the problem is elsewhere.
What Is a Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment is the process of matching the wheels of a vehicle with one another and with the road surface. It entails modifying the suspension system and features to ensure that the wheels and axles move in the same direction.
Adjusting suspension angles, tire movement, and steering wheel centeredness are all part of this process. The manufacturer creates standard tire alignment angles that are defined in degrees. The kind of alignment is determined by the vehicle’s suspension system and power distribution.
A four-wheel alignment is necessary for all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive cars, whereas a front-end or thrust-angle alignment is required for front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive systems.
Is Wheel Alignment Essential?
Wheel alignment is a key maintenance task that significantly impacts a vehicle’s control and safety. Misaligned wheels can dramatically limit handling skills, causing the vehicle to pull in one direction and hindering its ability to turn or go in a straight line.
It complicates driving and increases the danger to ride enjoyment and safety. The expense of regular wheel alignment can dramatically increase the cost of car ownership. Uneven tire wear can result in frequent tire replacements, flat spots, and tire blowouts.
Furthermore, mismatched wheels can harm the rims and suspension, reducing the vehicle’s performance and lifetime.
Benefits of Wheel Alignment
- On the road, you’ll have better control over your car, and it’ll be more stable.
- Suspension and steering qualities are more durable.
- It helps to enhance a car’s fuel economy since automobiles with improper wheel alignment can lose up to 10% of their efficiency.
- More stability means your automobile is safer to drive on uneven or wet roads.
How Often Should Wheel Alignment Be Done?
To be more specific, wheel alignment should be served as part of your vehicle’s routine maintenance. It might happen during the car’s monthly appointment with the mechanic. Of course, as previously said, it is dependent on the type of car you have.
As a result, to align your vehicle’s tires, you must first recognize the indicators of tire misalignment. Some examples are provided below to assist you.
The Car Is Towing to One Side
If your car begins to slide to one side when you let go of the steering wheel or feel like the vehicle is tugging against you, you should arrange wheel alignment.
Tires are Worn Unevenly
If you get your car’s tires rotated properly, they should begin to wear evenly. However, if you see that they are wearing unevenly, this might indicate that your car needs a wheel alignment.
Squealing Noises from the Tires
Another indicator of wheel misalignment is that your tires have begun to create squeaking noises as you drive your car. Your tires should provide you with a smooth ride, so alignment must be performed.
The Steering Wheel Shudders/Vibrates
Finally, if your steering wheel shakes or vibrates when driving, it might be due to mismatched wheels. As a result, you’d need to take your vehicle to a professional to get this fixed.
It is all you need to know about why and when you should get your vehicle’s wheels aligned. It is necessary not only for a good driving experience but also for your and your passengers’ safety when they are in your car.
How Long Does Alignment Take?
A wheel alignment typically takes one hour, regardless of whether the vehicle is two- or four-wheel drive. If the suspension system, steering bushing, track rod, or other elements have too much wear and tear or damage, it will take longer since certain components must be replaced.
Wheel alignment is an important maintenance chore that you cannot afford to neglect since it substantially affects your vehicle’s performance, riding comfort, safety, and longevity.
Finally, acquiring wheel alignment services ensures maximum vehicle performance and safety. A wheel alignment check is normally advised every 6,000 to 12,000 miles or at least once a year. Regular alignments help avoid uneven tire wear, increase fuel efficiency, and provide a smoother, more pleasant ride. Take edge of this important maintenance activity, as it may extend the life of your tires and save you money in the long run.