Performing various maintenance tasks will help enhance vehicle performance, but few stretch the gamut of comfort and safety like wheel alignment. In fact, having your wheels aligned can improve fuel efficiency, vehicle maneuverability, steering response, and tire performance. Not to mention, it’s part of responsible vehicle ownership.
What Does Wheel Alignment Involve?
For your car to run safely, lots of variables need to interact precisely, and tires are no different. Unfortunately, driving habits and road conditions can negatively-affect tires, causing them to wear disproportionately and at different rates. For example, the front wheels tend to lose alignment more often than rear wheels.
Depending on the make and model of your car, the alignment process can vary (those with four-wheel suspension involve different methods than those with wishbone suspension). For this reason, an experienced mechanic should always be used to perform wheel alignments.
This elaborate process brings the vehicle’s suspension into exact configuration, adjusting certain components so wheels align with each other and the road. Modern alignment machines involve devices that attach to the wheels, link to a computer, and make specific measurements. Various angles–known as thrust, toe, camber, and caster–get adjusted, and the technician will make sure the steering wheel sits in a central position.
When the process completes, a printout should be made available so you can see before and after images of the suspension’s alignment.
The Significance of Wheel Alignment
When your car’s wheels aren’t aligned properly, many issues can arise. Your vehicle may start to pull left or right, making steering more challenging. Bad alignment can also lead to excessive vibration, especially at the steering wheel, and can increase the chances of premature tire wear. And when tire tread suffers, so does your driving experience.
When to Have an Alignment
The best source for all scheduled services is your owner’s manual, since recommendations might vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle and the tires used. Most experts, however, advise having an alignment performed every time you replace the tires.
Of course, if you notice any of the issues listed above, it might be time for professional evaluation and alignment.
Most importantly, make sure to use a reputable, experienced shop for all your services and repairs, especially a wheel alignment. This delicate procedure requires specialized training, expert eyes, and should only be trusted to those who understand the intricacies of your vehicle.
For all your auto maintenance and repair needs, call OneWay Automotive in Ardmore, OK today at 580-798-5014.