It takes only a small misalignment to create problems with your vehicle, which is why proper wheel alignment is important. Simply put, all of components that make your vehicle go straight are called alignment. Misalignment can be caused by many factors including merely driving your vehicle. Potholes can be common culprits. A sizable pothole can bump your suspension out of the precisely calculated set of measurements that dictate proper wheel alignment.
Why is wheel alignment important?
Improper wheel alignment can effect driving performance as well as cost you money. Total alignment sets all four wheels positioned straight ahead and parallel. The following are benefits of wheel alignment:
o Improves gas mileage. In the recent economy and a year of outrageous gas prices, everyone is looking to better their gas mileage to save money. By having your vehicle aligned properly, it decreases any resistance while rolling which increases your gas mileage. It is also important to make sure that your tires are properly inflated as this will help gas mileage as well.
o Reduces tire wear. Premature tire wear can be costly. One of the signs of wheel misalignment is excessive or uneven tire wear. If your vehicle is not aligned properly, your tires can show wear more quickly due to their not rolling straight and being dragged in the wrong direction. You will have to replace them more often, costing you more. Proper alignment can save you money in the long run.
o Improves the handling of your vehicle. Other signs of improper alignment pertain to the handling of our vehicle. These signs can be if your steering wheel pulls to the left or right, if it is not centered when driving straight ahead or if it vibrates or shimmies. Steering wheel vibration can also indicate tire wear or if they have not been inflated properly. While driving, your vehicle can also have a feeling of looseness or wandering. All of these signs can be corrected with total alignment which can absorb any road shock and provide a smoother ride.
o Improves safety. Proper wheel alignment can help you drive more safely by improving steering and tracking problems. The improved handling and control of your vehicle can help you prevent or avoid accidents.
Why is four-wheel alignment recommended?
Simply put, your front wheels "steer" or drive the vehicle while the rear wheels "direct" the vehicle. Four-wheel alignment solves handling problems by referencing all four wheels to a common centerline.
Yearly maintenance is recommended.
Regular vehicle maintenance is recommended for optimal operation of your vehicle and its safety. It is important that you follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations listed in your owner's manual, however as a general rule your wheel alignment and tire check up should be scheduled every 10,000 miles or at least once per year.
Often a suspension system inspection can be included as a part of this regular maintenance. This inspection can allow your ASE Certified Technician to spot potential problems or worn parts now before they become costly problems later.