The average driver has no idea what kind of obstacles they may encounter on a given day or trip, which is why it’s imperative that their vehicle’s wheels are properly in-line. Wheel alignment is extremely important when it comes to how your car handles the road.
Suspension is what connects your vehicle to its wheels and provides a smooth, safe ride over uneven streets. As a result of accidental run-ins with curbs or potholes, parts of your vehicle’s suspension will bend over time. As these parts change shape, your wheels may become misaligned and cause your car to veer to one side or go through your tires very quickly. Your vehicle’s suspension has many adjustable components that allow mechanics to adjust the wheel’s angle. When you bring your vehicle in for an alignment, your technician uses special equipment to make sure the wheels are straight, and your vehicle will reacts properly to road conditions.
“Camber” refers to the angle of the wheel (measured in degrees) when viewed from the front of the vehicle. A “toe-in” or “negative” camber occurs when a pair of wheels has their leading edges pointed slightly towards each other. The camber is positive, or toe-out, if the top of the wheels are leaning out from the center of the car. Excessive camber angles may not be noticeable when driving, but it can reduce cornering performance and wear out tires unevenly.
Misaligned wheels may cause your tires to “scrub” or skid along the road at odd angles and will decrease their lifespan. Misaligned wheels will also waste fuel because more power is required to turn them. Safety also becomes an issue, as misaligned wheels tend to impact the handling of the car.
To check your alignment, find a straight, flat stretch of road. Your vehicle may be misaligned if it automatically steers to one side. Most streets slope for drainage and usually cause vehicles to pull right. This is normal.
It is a good idea to have an alignment performed annually. If you notice that you have to constantly fight the steering wheel to keep the car straight, bring the car into our shop for an alignment immediately! An ASE-certified technician will be able to diagnose the problem and offer solutions to fix it. In most cases, a simple alignment is all that is required.