Why Is Wheel Alignment Important?

//Why Is Wheel Alignment Important?

Why Is Wheel Alignment Important?

Your car’s wheels must be pointing straight and meet the road a the right angle. And, your tires must be centered in the wheel wells. Otherwise, when your wheels are not properly aligned, you risk encountering many problems while driving. Let’s learn about the importance of wheel alignment.

wheel alignment toyota pick up truck

The Importance Of Wheel Alignment

There are four reasons why you need to keep your vehicle’s wheels aligned. 

#1 You Can Extend Your Tires’ Lifespan

Your car’s tires will unevenly wear if you’re driving a vehicle out of alignment. This will reduce the tires’ lifespan. It also can mean that you will have to replace the tires sooner than expected.

#2 You Can Extend The Suspension and Steering Systems’ Lifespan

Improper alignment can put stress on the suspension and steering systems. It can cause their parts to wear unevenly, leading to expensive repairs.

#3 You May Be Able To Lower Fuel Costs

There is a direct relationship between fuel costs and wheel alignment. An aligned car can get better fuel mileage than one that is not properly aligned. This is because wheels that are not aligned won’t work together correctly. In this case, the engine will need to work more to move the car forward, which can lower the fuel efficiency.

#4 You Can Enjoy A Safe And Smooth Driving Experience

If your wheels are not aligned, the car can pull to the right or left. This can make the car hard to drive since it needs to be adjusted constantly to compensate. It can also result in a jumpy ride and take your attention away from safe driving.

Is Wheel Alignment Necessary?

Wheel alignment has to be done at least once or twice a year. A car’s tires can wear and tear, especially if the car is driven on rough terrain, they wear down quicker. However, if the wheel alignment is done periodically, you can fix tire problems before they result in costly repairs.

Additionally, whenever wheels are properly aligned, tire issues can be avoided otherwise leading to accidents.

How To Tell If Wheels Are Not Aligned

The most common signs of a misaligned car include (in most cases misalignment is caused by car collisions):

  • The steering wheel is off-center
  • Tires have uneven wear
  • The steering wheel vibrates or shakes often
  • The car pulls to the right or left frequently

If you see any of the issues mentioned above, you need to bring your car to a certified mechanic. The mechanic will then inspect your wheels and align them.

What To Expect From a Wheel Alignment

A wheel alignment is a drop-in service. This means, usually a car wheel alignment service can be done in around an hour. When it’s done, you can drive your vehicle home safely. 

There may be cases when the mechanic will recommend replacing or more tires as part of the alignment. During the alignment, the mechanic will evaluate the tires’ condition and assess their pressure. If any tires need replacing, they will be able to do it, after the alignment.

Camber, Toe, and Caster

When a mechanic checks the tire alignment, they will be concerned with three things:

#1 Camber

This is the outward or inward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the car. Too much outward or inward tilt, also known as positive and negative camber, indicates improper alignment and will have to be adjusted. Worn ball joints, bearings, and other suspension parts can contribute to the misalignment of the camber.

#2 Toe

Different from camber alignment, the alignment of the toe is the extent to which tires turn outward or inward when seen from above. 

#3 Caster

The caster angle helps balance stability, cornering, or steering. It is specifically the angle of the steering axis when seen from the side of the car. If there is a positive caster, the steering axis tilts toward the driver. If there is a negative caster, the steering axis will tilt toward the front of the car.

Do All Four Tires Get Aligned At Once?

The answer is yes. The vast majority of cars today require a four-wheel alignment. Some cars have solid rear axles and they can only have the front wheels aligned. But even if this is the case, your car mechanic can check the tires in the rear for damage that can compromise the car’s handling. If all tires can be aligned, they should. If they can’t, then have the front ones aligned, and the rear axle checked.

The Idea Is: Do Not Wait To Get A Wheel Alignment

If you were involved in a car collision and your car suffered from a misalignment, bring your car to Sudden Impact Auto. Our experts will get you the help you need to align the wheels and drive safely again. Call us for a free inspection at 702-457-3002.