A technician adjusts a vehicle's wheel alignment.

Every motor vehicle needs a wheel alignment periodically. However, unlike the other vehicle problems, the need for a wheel alignment is not always obvious to see. Nevertheless, if you don’t get your car’s wheels aligned properly, it could have an impact on the suspension system and steering, and it could result in bigger car problems like premature and uneven wear and tear on the tires.

What Are Wheel Alignments?

A wheel alignment is the process of adjusting a vehicle’s suspension to get it back in compliance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

This process is very precise, and it requires special equipment to perform. A wheel alignment usually only adjusts the suspension on the car, but sometimes certain vehicle parts need to be replaced.

Why Is It Important To Get Your Vehicle Properly Aligned?

  1. To be safe. The most important reason why your car needs to be properly aligned is safety. The wheels of your car have to contact the surface of the road properly; otherwise, it could result in erratic handling as well as excessive tire wear making it difficult to take control of your vehicle.
  2. To prevent excessive, premature, and uneven tire wear.
  3. To prevent more costly car problems in the future. It goes without saying that misaligned wheels could result in extra stress as well as uneven wear on the suspension parts, causing premature failure.
  4. To get a smoother ride. Obviously, misalignment could cause vibrations, which will disappear after the wheel alignment.
  5. To improve gas mileage. When the suspension system in your car is not working properly, the engine of the car needs to work harder for the car to move along the road. As such, the engine consumes more gas to operate and reduces gas mileage.
  6. To help the driver assist systems work better. Features such as park assist, lane departure detection, and traction control rely on the information from the steering angle sensor. If you are driving straight, which is a problematic sign for alignment, the systems cannot get the information that they need to work properly.

What Are The Signs Your Vehicle Needs a Wheel Alignment?

Although It is not always clear when your vehicle has a misalignment, there are some signs to look for as following:

  1. The vehicle’s wheels are visibly tilting in and out. When it is severe or it is caused by impact, you should be able to see it.
  2. The steering wheel is off from the center. It needs to point to the right or left for your car to move straight, or it doesn’t get back to the center after a turn.
  3. There is uneven tire wear. You could find more wear on either the inside or the outside sides of your tire tread.
  4. The vehicle drifts or pulls to one side.
  5. There is a vibrating or pulsating steering wheel.

When Should You Get a Wheel Alignment?

If you have experienced an impact or find any problems as mentioned above, for the sake of safety, you should get your car checked for wheel alignment. Otherwise, a check on your car for wheel alignment should be expected about every 1-2 years. However, if you often drive your car on poorly maintained or unpaved roads, you should get your car checked for wheel alignment more often.

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