Vehicle wheel alignment is also called tracking and is a necessary part of your car maintenance. The procedure is often done while your car tires are being replaced. This process is carried out in order to readjust the angle of the vehicle’s wheels as per the car maker’s specifications. There are several benefits to performing this action on your car. They include the reduction of tire wear and tear, consequently increasing the tire life. It also keeps the vehicle running straight instead of pulling to one side. The procedure also gives you better car handling, increased fuel economy, a smoother ride and increased driving safety.
In order for your vehicle to run properly, all four of its wheels must be aligned correctly. If only the front wheels are properly aligned, (also called “toe and go” or front wheel alignment) and the rear wheels are out of alignment, you will continue to experience pulling, uneven and excessive tire wear and your steering wheel will appear crooked. Many times your car wheels are knocked out of alignment during driving for example, when you hit the curb or a pothole. The non-alignment is also caused by your worn-out steering components or suspensions. The car mechanic is the person that is in a better position to tell you the reason behind the misalignment, after he inspects the vehicle.
Unexpected encounters with huge potholes can result in damage to your vehicle worth thousands of dollars. It can damage your wheels, steering, tires and suspensions. Even an odd encounter with a medium sized pothole can cause damage, which will throw your car wheel alignment out of order, and you may not even notice it. It is only afterwards that you will find the car pulling left or right even when the steering wheel is straight. Excessive vibrations can be noticed at higher speeds. Another thing you may notice is unusual or excessive wear and tear of the tires. In such cases, the tires will skid across the road.
Car Wheel Angles and Directions
The car wheels are set in various directions and angles, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Some of them are called positive camber, negative camber, toe in and toe out. The toe refers to the front tires. The expert will check whether they are closer together than the rear tires. The camber indicates the tire tilt either outwards or inwards. You can set specific angles to adjust the car handling as per your needs, for example, for off-road driving or for any extreme driving capabilities.
Contact Specialists for Wheel Alignment
One should always consult a tire specialist for information regarding the alignment of your car’s wheels, even if you can easily spot a possible misalignment just by looking at the condition of the tires. If one of the tires is wearing faster than the others, it is a clear indication of misalignment and has to be corrected. A good idea is to book wheel alignment verification when you are due for your next tire replacement. You can search for great deals on the internet by searching for “cheap tires online”. You can even get a mobile fitting van come to your house instead of you taking the time out from your schedule to visit the garage for this procedure. You can also access some of the tire discount stores available in your city, which provide a state of the art alignment in a computerized facility for quick, affordable and accurate alignments and adjustments to stop the vehicle from pulling or vibrating and consequently shortening the tire life. The ASE certified technicians are available at most tire stores. They have the proper training and the latest computerized equipment for performing a quick and accurate alignment.
Difference between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing
There is the chance of you getting confused by tire retailers who say that alignment and balancing are the same or that wheel balancing will be sufficient. Tremendous centrifugal forces are generated in the tires when they are running at high speeds. Wheel balancing evens out the irregularities of weight in each tire and wheel combination. This also ensures that the tire keeps continuous contact with the road surface without jumping, bumping and skipping. On the other hand, the wheel alignment ensures that all four wheels and tires are tracking straight and true. The process centers the tires with the steering system, thereby maximizing the performance of the suspension system and helping to stop the uneven wear of the tires.
The wheel alignment actually seriously affects the quality of your driving experience. It also affects the efficiency of the car handling, precision of the steering and eventually leads to pulling, which can be dangerous. Pulling makes your car veer to one side when you are trying to go straight. In fact, all the things mentioned above can be dangerous and you need to ensure that the car is kept in good condition for you and your family’s safety.