Does your car feel vibrating and not in your control even when driving on a smooth road? It’s not only challenging to drive in such conditions but also extremely dangerous, even for professionals.
Most people think that their car is drooling because the tires are not in good condition. However, the underlying problem behind this is lousy wheel alignment.
Wheel alignment is essential for keeping your car in good condition and ensuring that you enjoy driving it.
Misalignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which greatly reduces their lifespan. What’s worse is that it can also impact your suspension system.
So, let’s dive deep into the concept of wheel alignment and know when it’s time to visit an auto repair shop.
What is Wheel Alignment and How It’s Done
Wheel alignment is the mechanical adjustment of your car’s suspension system. During wheel alignment, all the parts, from the steering wheel to connecting rods, suspension, and wheels, are ensured to be in the right position.
Primarily, there are two types of alignment, and they depend on the type of car you are driving.
This is the type of alignment done on cars without adjustable rear suspension. During thrust alignment, only the front wheels are adjusted.
As the rear wheels can’t be adjusted, only the front wheels are adjusted according to the position of the rear wheels.
The rear wheels might be pointed forward or slightly off. The front wheels are then aligned as closely as possible to the thrust line.
If you drive a car with adjustable rear suspension, then to bring all four wheels of your vehicle back to the original position, you will need to align all four of them to the center of the vehicle.
Camber tells us how far the wheel of your car tilts outward from it or how far it leans inwards. It’s crucial to get the camber angle right if you wish to corner with ease and safety.
The toe angle tells us whether the wheels are pointed straight or not. If your toe angle is not correct then it can quickly chew your tyre’s tread, and soon you need to get them replaced.
Caster has all to do with how forward or backward the steering axis is tilted. If you don’t know what the steering axis is, then it’s the line between the upper and lower ball joints on the wheel.
In most cases, the steering axis is tilted toward the driver, which results in increased steering effort to drive in a straight line.
When to Get Wheel Alignment?
Well, there is no specific time for getting your wheel alignment services, and it merely depends on your daily commute and how much you drive.
If yourcar stays in the garage for weeks, you don’t need to align them for years. However, if it’s your daily driven vehicle, then getting wheel alignment after every six months is a smart choice.
How often you need wheel alignment also depends on your driving conditions. For instance, if you frequently drive over potholes or the road condition is pretty bad in your area then your alignment can be affected sooner.
It’s generally recommended to check your alignment when you experience any signs of misalignment or after every 5,000 to 6,000 miles.
If you cover far distances daily, you need to get wheel alignment sooner than six months.
How to Know If Your Car Needs Alignment?
To help you know if it’s time to get wheel alignment, here are some of the warning signs you need to look out for:
Car Steers to One Side
While going on a smooth road, your car should be able to drive straight when you take your hands off the steering wheel.
If your car drifts towards the opposite side of the road when you take your hands off, then there may be a problem with your alignment.
Play in the Steering Wheel
If you feel like your steering goes a little far than you intend to, or it feels a bit loose, then it’s a sign of misalignment.
Steering Wheel is Uneven
This is one of the easiest ways to check for a bad wheel alignment. While driving, your steering wheel should remain in the center.
Check the steering logo for reference, and if it leans slightly off-center in any direction, it means you have an uneven steering wheel, and it’s time to visit the auto repair shop.
Benefits of Driving a Car With Proper Wheel Alignment
Getting regular wheel alignment services can benefit your car in many ways:
Increase Fuel Efficiency
If your wheels are not aligned properly, they need extra power from the engine because the rolling resistance is much more.
It will eventually decrease your car’s fuel efficiency, and you will have to spend more money on gas.
While driving a car with misaligned wheels, you may have bumpy or vibrating rides. However, if they are properly aligned, then you will enjoy a much smoother experience.
Enhances Tire Life
Tires are one of the most expensive parts of your vehicle. If you keep ignoring the signs of misalignment and keep driving, then soon you will need to replace your tires.
But, if you plan to get wheel alignment every six months, the tire life is significantly increased, and you can save money on costly tire replacements.