Getting a wheel alignment about once a year is a really good practice to fall into. Wheel alignment is part of your standard vehicle maintenance and is normally done when you have your tires rotated.
Those two things are a little different. Having your tires rotated is as simple as bringing your vehicle in to All Around Auto Repair and having an experienced mechanic move your four tires from one location to another. Doing so ensures even wear of your tire’s tread.
The core reason that you would want your tires rotated is that there’s more weight on your front axle with your engine upfront than there is on the rear axle. Variety is the spice of life and changing the position of your tires can mean going much longer between replacements.
Wheel Alignment Has Similar Benefits
So, where does a wheel alignment fall into the mix? Wheel alignment can give you a smoother drive and breathe new life into your tires – like having your tires rotated – but it can also save you much more money down the road in terms of avoiding expensive repairs.
In fact, proper wheel alignment can improve your fuel economy in the short term even as it improves your car’s safety and performance over the long term. It works like this: When you take your car into All Around Auto Repair, you’ll have all four of your tires precisely adjusted to the manufacturer’s standards.
If you’ve ever been in a vehicle that has a “pull” to one side of the road or another then you already know how a vehicle can get out of alignment. Wheel alignment can actually get pretty technical and tailor-made for your driving habits, although going with the manufacturer’s standards is the way to go.
How Does It Work?
Certain off-road vehicles and race cars have their wheels aligned differently from most other kinds of cars. Whether you’re talking about a race car or a van to get the kids to soccer practice in, wheel alignment is about angles. Specifically, what are known as the caster, camber, and toe angles of your front and rear axles.
Fortunately, a lot of this stuff is calculated by computers nowadays. A mechanic simply uses a camera and clamp to grab on to each of your wheels and has the camera “talk” to a computer in order to determine the best caster, camber, and toe angles for your vehicle. The end result is a smoother ride.
What Causes Bad Wheel Alignment?
Your wheels can fall out of alignment for a number of reasons. The most common one is a reason that’s largely out of your control: bumpy roads and potholes. Parallel parking and going over a curb can also screw up how your wheels are aligned.
Bringing your car into All Around Auto Repair for a pit stop can quickly fix things up.
The thing about improper wheel alignment is that it can crop up after only a few curb taps or pothole misadventures. The problem gets worse and worse and eventually results in uneven tread wear on your tires (one problem can lead to another).
That’s why the auto experts advise getting your wheel alignment done about once a year, every 5,000 miles, or whenever you have your tires rotated. Tire drag from a car that hasn’t had a wheel alignment in a few years can seriously tank your fuel economy.
Concerned you’ve gone too long without a wheel alignment? Schedule a wheel alignment and tire rotation today along with a full inspection and general maintenance to ensure years of vehicle performance and safety.