We all have probably heard at least once that our car needs an alignment. Nevertheless, most of the people are still confused what it really is and how does it affect your driving. We often have people come in and complain that their car shakes when driving on higher speeds, pulls left or right for an hour and then stops, pulsates when braking suddenly. Non of the mentioned has anything to do with the alignment itself.
Wheel alignment is adjustment of tire angels set by vehicle manufacturer in order to set your wheel in perfect position to drive straight and ware tires efficiently. That is why wheel alignment will affect only your tire ware.
Signs of bad alignment:
Uneven Tire Ware. That is why you will most probably be told that you need an alignment after technician looks at your tires after the car is lifted. It is visible and easy to spot. That is a reason why you are recommended to do alignment with new tires. If alignment is not right your tires will wear unevenly causing premature ware.
Wheel Pulling. If uneven tire ware is bad it will cause pulling of the vehicle to one or other side when driving. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes natural road pulling occurs due to roads being imperfect, though this kind of pulling will be occasional and appear only on particular routes. If pulling is caused by inappropriate alignment, you will feel pulling all the time.
Steering wheel is not centered when wheels are pointed straight. Another thing that may offset your alignment is hitting curb or pothole when driving. Suspension parts are affected after any incident like that and those are the parts you adjust to get the alignment right. So if you suspect that impact has been big enough, it is advisable to get your suspension checked for loose parts and sometime alignment is inevitable. That is also why alignment is required after you replace any major suspension parts that affect alignment of the vehicle.
Proper wheel alignment will also impact gas mileage, breaking and efficient stopping but is underestimated by many of us before it is too late. Good news is that you do not need to do it regularly. After it is done, unless you hid or run something over, you are likely to be good till the next set of tires you are getting in couple of years or so. Do not wait till the last second and get your alignment checked at Z Auto Service. Make sure to call or make an appointment online before you come in and do not be shy to ask us questions. We will explain, show and make it perfect!