Having your vehicle’s wheels aligned is important as it can help improve the safety and performance of your vehicle. When performing a vehicle wheel alignment, your auto repair technician uses specialized computer equipment to adjust the angles of your vehicle’s wheels so that the wheels are perfectly parallel to each other in proportion with the ground.
Take a look at some answers to common questions related to vehicle wheel alignment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wheel Alignment
What is my auto mechanic looking for/at when they do a wheel alignment?
When performing a vehicle wheel alignment, there are typically three different types of angles that your auto mechanic is examining:
- Camber – The angle of your vehicle when viewed from the front
- Caster – The angle of the steering pivot when viewed from the side of your vehicle
- Toe – The direction that your vehicle’s tires point as they relate to each other
How often should I have my vehicle’s wheel alignment checked?
In general, it is advisable to follow the guidelines outlined in your owner’s manual. However, according to Cars Direct, a general rule of thumb is to have your tires and wheel alignment checked every 10,000 miles. If you drive on roads that contain a lot of potholes and uneven pavement, you should get your alignment checked more frequently (5,000 – 7,500 miles).
Are all wheel alignments the same?
No. Depending on the type of vehicle you drive and the type of wheel alignment issue you face, your auto repair shop may perform the following types of wheel alignments:
- Front Wheel Alignment (for front-wheel drive vehicles)
- Four Wheel Alignment (for vehicles with four-wheel independent suspensions)
- Thrust Angle Alignment (for solid, rear-axle vehicles)
Causes & Consequences of Bad Wheel Alignment
Poor vehicle wheel alignment can be caused by any number of factors. Typically, however, most wheel alignment problems are caused by suspension wear on older vehicles. Wheel alignment problems may also arise among all vehicles as the result of impact (i.e. potholes, curbs).
If left alone, improper wheel alignment leads to abnormal and/or rapid tire wear. It can also cost you hundreds of dollars (or more) in repair. So, how can you tell if your wheel alignment is off? Below are some signs to look out for.
Signs that your alignment is off:
- Your steering wheel pulls to one side or the other
- Your steering wheel isn’t level when driving
- Your steering wheel seems off-center or may be at an odd angle while driving
- You feel a strange vibration while driving (caused by wheels pulling against each other)
- You notice uneven wear on your tires
Benefits of Having Your Vehicle Wheels Aligned
A properly aligned vehicle will:
- Keep your wheels pointed in the right direction
- Helps your vehicle’s suspension last longer
- Make your drive smoother (improves your handling of the vehicle)
- Save you gas money because your vehicle will use less energy
- Help you get more wear out of your tires
- Reduce wear on your steering column
For more questions related to wheel alignment or to have your vehicle’s wheel alignment checked, stop by our Raleigh auto repair shop, fill out our online appointment form, or give us a call today: (919) 821-1077.