Remember the last time you hit a pothole, and it rattled your vehicle? You saw it too late to avoid it, but it shook your car hard enough for you to think about long after you drove away.
Wheels can become misaligned easily as you drive. While they’re designed to be durable, you never know what will cause a problem somewhere within the system. And that can set off a host of chain reactions.
Why Car Alignment is Important for Your Vehicle
What exactly is car alignment, and why does it matter? Car alignment refers to the adjustment of the angles of your vehicle’s wheels so that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the road. Proper alignment ensures your car drives straight, handles well, and maximizes tire life.
While we’d like to think proper alignment holds for thousands of miles, the reality is it can be altered by driving away from the repair shop. We can’t predict what will be in the road, or how it will impact how our car drives.
When car alignment is misaligned, getting it fixed quickly can stop minor issues from becoming costly fixes.
What Happens When You Wait Too Long
Imagine driving down the road with your vehicle’s alignment out of whack. The longer you delay addressing this issue, the more consequences you’re inviting into your car’s health.
Uneven Tire Wear
One of the most visible signs of alignment issues is uneven tire wear. Misaligned wheels put uneven pressure on your tires, causing some parts of the tread to wear down faster than others. Uneven tire wear not only shortens your tire’s lifespan but also compromises traction, leading to decreased safety on the road.
Ignoring alignment can throw your steering out of balance. If you find yourself constantly adjusting the steering wheel to keep the car moving straight, your alignment might be off.
You might also notice it in the way your steering wheel sits. Glance down at the emblem in the center of the steering wheel while driving straight. If it tips either to the left or right, it’s a sign your vehicle needs a wheel alignment.
Poor Fuel Economy
Here’s a sneaky way misalignment can hit you in the wallet: poor fuel economy. When your wheels aren’t aligned correctly, your car has to work harder to move forward. This increased resistance can lead to decreased gas mileage, meaning more trips to the pump and more money out of your pocket.
How to Tell If You’re Experiencing Car Alignment Issues
Wheel alignment is important. It’s not difficult to understand why. Yet knowing it and knowing when it should be fixed are two different things. How do you identify those pesky alignment issues before they become bigger problems?
Vehicle Pulls to One Side
Does your car seem determined to veer to the left or right, even when driving on a straight road? If so, it’s a clear sign that your wheels might be misaligned.
Uneven Steering Wheel
Take a look at your steering wheel while driving on a level road. If it’s tilted to one side even though you’re driving straight, it’s time to consider an alignment check.
Is your steering wheel feeling a bit too loose and wobbly? Misaligned wheels can lead to a lack of responsiveness in your steering, making your vehicle harder to control.
Vibrating Steering Wheel
If you feel vibrations through the steering wheel, especially at higher speeds, it could be an indication of alignment issues or other problems with your tires or suspension.
Uneven Tire Wear
Inspect your tires regularly for signs of uneven wear. If you notice that the tread is wearing down more on one side of the tire than the other, it’s time to schedule an alignment check.
Misaligned wheels can cause your tires to squeal as they make contact with the road. This not only sounds unpleasant but also points to a need for alignment correction.
Alignment isn’t just a one-size-fits-all fix. It involves adjusting three key angles:
This angle measures the tilt of your wheels when viewed from the front. Too much positive or negative camber can lead to uneven tire wear and handling issues.
Toe refers to the angle at which your tires point in or out when viewed from above. Incorrect toe settings can cause tire wear, as well as instability in steering.
Caster is the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side. It affects steering stability and the return of your steering wheel to its center position after turning.
Bringing your vehicle in will allow one of our mechanics to assess your car and determine the best way to fix it and get you on the road once again.
Why You Should Fix Car Alignment Issues Right Away
Think of your car’s alignment like your own health. Ignoring a minor ache or pain might lead to a more serious problem down the road. Similarly, not addressing alignment issues promptly can result in bigger and more expensive repairs.
Fixing alignment issues sooner rather than later:
Regular alignment checks and adjustments are a relatively inexpensive preventive measure compared to the potential costs of tire replacement, suspension repairs, and more.
Proper alignment ensures your tires have maximum contact with the road, enhancing your vehicle’s stability and grip, especially during emergency maneuvers.
Preserves Tire Life
Correct alignment spreads the wear on your tires evenly, extending their lifespan and helping you avoid the cost of premature tire replacements.
Enhances Fuel Efficiency
Aligned wheels reduce rolling resistance, contributing to better fuel economy and putting more money back in your wallet over the long run.
It’s time to fix your car’s alignment
Taking care of your car’s alignment might not be the most exciting aspect of car ownership, but it’s undoubtedly a vital one. Ignoring alignment issues can lead to a host of problems – all of which can dent your bank account. So, watch for signs of misalignment, and don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle in for a check if something feels off. Remember, a little preventive care today can save you a lot of money and headaches in the future.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment and put your car on the path to perfect alignment!