Much like having your oil changed on a regular basis, ensuring your vehicle’s fluids are clean and full, and making sure your windshield wipers provide you a clear view, wheel alignment is important to your vehicle and how it drives. Have you started to notice something off while you are driving down the road? It could be an issue caused because your tires are not meeting the road properly. A wheel alignment could be the solution. Proper alignment isn’t just vital for making your ride comfortable, it is also key to tire wear and fuel efficiency, and can directly impact your car, truck, or SUV’s suspension.
We are going to review what a wheel alignment is, and why it is important.
What is a Wheel Alignment?
Before we can take a look at why a wheel alignment is important, we need to first review what a wheel alignment is. If you have ever owned a vehicle, you have likely heard your mechanic tell you before that they have performed one, but what does that actually mean?
A wheel alignment sometimes is a part of standard automobile maintenance that consists of adjusting the angles of wheels to the car manufacturer specifications. The purpose of these adjustments is to reduce tire wear and to ensure that vehicle travel is straight and true (without “pulling” to one side). Alignment angles can also be altered beyond the maker’s specifications to obtain a specific handling characteristic (Wikipedia).
To put this more simply, an alignment refers to an adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension, the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. It is not an adjustment of the tires or wheels themselves. The key to proper alignment is adjusting the angles of the tires which affects how they make contact with the road. An alignment helps to improve vehicle handling and ensures your tires perform as they should and last longer.
Why is Wheel Alignment Important?
Wheel alignment is important because it directly impacts the vehicle’s suspension. Your vehicle’s suspension is what makes for a smooth and stable ride. Keeping your suspension in good condition not only makes for a more comfortable ride, but it is important for you and your passengers’ safety and keeping the car in control. The suspension system maximizes the friction between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling.
Wheel alignment is also important for fuel efficiency. A vehicle has to work harder when the tires have worn unevenly. This happens because there is more resistance between the tire and the road surface. This extra effort burns more fuel; therefore, if your tires are evenly worn, you will save money in fuel costs.
Comfort is usually key to most drivers, and wheel alignment directly impacts how comfortable of a ride you and your passengers have in your vehicle. If your tires are worn unevenly, it can cause vibrations, make it harder to steer and control the vehicle, and you may even notice more ride noise. None of these things make for an enjoyable ride.
Keeping your wheels in proper alignment will save you money on needing to replace your tires more frequently and on potential repairs needed to your suspension system. As we mentioned above, it also makes for a safer and more pleasant experience when driving down the road.
Tire performance, your comfort level, fuel efficiency, the lifespan of vehicle components, and more are all why wheel alignment is important for all types of vehicles. If you notice uneven or rapid tire wear, your steering wheel being crooked when you are driving straight, noise when driving, your vehicle pulling, less than normal fuel efficiency, vibrations, or something off that seems like it is coming from below you when you driving, you may need a wheel alignment.
Advanced Transmissions & Emissions is your Phoenix automotive repair team. Advanced Transmissions & Emissions specializes in transmission repair, rebuilding, and remanufacturing, and all of your other automotive repair needs from clutches, air conditioning, steering, suspension, and more. We are a full-service auto mechanic repair shop.