Straight And True: The Importance Of Wheel Alignment

12 March 2019
 Categories: , Blog


Keeping your car in perfect shape often means following a strict maintenance schedule. Oil, coolant, and other fluids all need to be changed regularly, for example. Brakes and rotors should be replaced at set intervals, and even tires tend to fail after a fairly predictable number of miles. Wheel alignment, however, is a murkier topic. When should you get your wheels aligned? The simple answer is that you should have an alignment done whenever your tires are replaced, whenever you have major suspension work done, or whenever your car doesn't seem to be tracking straight and true.

Will Your Alignment Naturally Fail?

Your vehicle's alignment can drift as the miles pile on, but this more an issue of wear and tear than simple time. Alignment can be knocked off by repeated impacts, such as from potholes, or simply by suspension components becoming worn. Your car's suspension is made up of many rubber bushings which will begin to wear down over time, ultimately creating greater play and leading to handling that just doesn't feel right. This leads to many of the common symptoms associated with a car that is out of alignment.

Note that simply replacing worn components will not put your car back into alignment. If you replace old components or have any major suspension work done, you will usually have to have an alignment done to get your car tracking properly again. In some cases, your alignment may even be worse following major suspension if an alignment is not performed.

Once your car's alignment seems to be off, there are several reasons why you should have the problem addressed as soon as possible.

Poor Alignment Hurts Handling

Most people can recognize pretty quickly if a vehicle's alignment isn't right. The most common symptom is simply a tendency to pull in one direction or another. While there are many possible reasons that a vehicle may want to drift to the left or right, alignment issues are usually the cheapest and easiest to address. For minor alignment problems, this drift is usually just an inconvenience. If left unaddressed, however, a poorly aligned car can eventually become difficult to control and even dangerous to drive. The symptoms of a bad alignment tend to be exacerbated in poor weather conditions or on uneven roads as well.

Poor Alignment May Indicate a More Serious Problem

Your alignment may be off due to slightly worn components or shocks from poor road conditions, but it may also indicate a deeper issue with your suspension. Having your alignment done can be a great way to determine if there are deeper problems lurking near your wheels. While performing the alignment, technicians will be able to perform a brief inspection of your car's suspension. Additionally, the final result of the alignment will be helpful in determining if there is a more serious issue.

Poor Alignment Will Cost You Money

If poor handling and the potential for major issues isn't enough to convince you that alignments are important, the cost of unaddressed alignment issues should be. Improper alignment results in uneven tread wear which will cause tires to fail more rapidly. For severe alignment issues, it is possible to cut the life of your tires in half or even worse. Having your alignment done may seem like an inconvenience, but remember that the cost is cheap when compared to replacing prematurely worn tires.

Contact a shop, like Dualtone, to schedule your alignment today.