Signs That You Need To Get Your Car Aligned

shutterstock_415018105Do you notice a vibration when you drive your vehicle, or is your vehicle pulling hard to one side or the other? Are your tires wearing unevenly or wearing out before their time? If you are observing these problems, you may need to look into wheel alignment for your car.

What Is a Car Alignment, and Why Is It Important?

Inside your car, the suspension is the system that connects the wheels to the rest of the vehicle. An alignment involves making slight (or at times large) adjustments to the suspension so that the tires make contact with the road at the proper angle.

A wheel alignment helps to ensure that your tires wear evenly by hitting the ground evenly, which extends the life of the tires. In addition, it makes the vehicle drive better, because it keeps the wheels pointed the right way on the road. If the car is properly aligned, it will also be more energy efficient.

Signs That You Need an Alignment

Your car won’t give a warning light indicating it needs an alignment, but you can notice signs that it’s time. Some of these include:

  • Uneven wear on the tire tread
  • Pulling to the side while driving
  • Off-center steering wheel when driving straight
  • Wheel vibration

If you are experiencing any of these issues, then it’s time to get the alignment checked. Experts recommend having the alignment checked every other oil change, or every 6,000 miles.

How to Get Your Car Aligned

If you are noticing signs of poor alignment, you may be able to improve the situation on your own. First, make sure that there is nothing heavy in your trunk that is weighing down the back end of your vehicle. Then, check the air pressure in the tires. If this does not resolve the issue, then it’s time for a professional alignment.

For an alignment, take your vehicle to a licensed service technician. The technician will attach your vehicle to a device connected to a computer that will analyze the angle. The technician will then adjust the suspension until the tires are at the right angle.

During this check, the technician will look at three things: First, is the camber, or the angle the tires tilt inward or outward when the car is viewed from the front. This problem often occurs when the bearings or ball joints become worn. Next, the technician will look at the toe alignment, which is the extent that the tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above. Finally, the technician will evaluate the caster angel, which is the angle of the steering axis when you view the vehicle from its side. This is the part of the alignment that balances stability and steering.

Wheel alignment cost will vary depending on the vehicle and technician. You can expect to pay between $75 and $200 for this service. While this may seem like a large investment, attending to tire alignment will ensure that your tires provide years of use and even wear. This is a small price to pay for many more miles of use out of your tires. If you want to protect your tires and your vehicle, consider scheduling your alignment today.