Alignments are one of the services that are easy to skip—many drivers don’t notice how poor their vehicle’s alignment is, and how necessary this service is, until there’s a serious problem.
When should I bring my car in for an alignment?
An alignment service is important to do when:
- You notice uneven tire wear.
- You feel steering pull, or notice an off-center steering wheel.
- You get new tires.
- Any parts that affect the suspension or the tire angles are replaced or adjusted.
- You get into a had a fender-bender.
- You have a hard impact run-in with a curb or road debris.
- You lift or lower your vehicle.
- It’s been a year since your last one.
Most drivers tend to notice their car pulling to one side or an off-center steering wheel before any other symptoms but any of these is a great reason to come in for an alignment and might help you avoid other problems down the line.
Why do I need an alignment?
As the only point of contact between your car and the road, your wheels play a huge role in how the connected systems function; the tilt and skew of the wheels—called the camber, caster, and toe, as shown to the right—are precisely calculated to optimize your vehicle’s function. During an alignment service, a technician uses calibrated equipment to ensure that your tires meet the road at the proper angle, your wheels are pointing straight and your tires are centered in the wheel wells. It also adjusts the angles of your vehicle’s wheels to their original specs to make sure you get the best gas mileage, a smooth ride, and the longest tire life.
Ideally, you want your vehicle to be sitting perfectly, like a tabletop sitting on four legs that are all perfectly balanced and perpendicular to the ground.
What happens if I skip an alignment?
Skipping alignment services can cause a host of issues for your tires, suspension, brakes, and other peripheral systems—here are our top three reasons you shouldn’t skip your next alignment:
1. Poor Fuel Efficiency
When your wheels are askew, tilted, or underinflated, your car’s engine is forced to work harder and use more fuel to get them rolling—like pushing broken shopping cart at the grocery store and struggled to direct it down the aisle.
2. Engine Damage & Wear
Asking the engine to work harder than it needs to accelerates wear and tear. Neglecting regular services could lead to faster engine damage or breakdowns.
3. Faster Tire Wear
When wheels are out of alignment, the tires meet the road at odd angles. The tread area of the tire that we want contacting the road might not line up right, which means part of the tire may see accelerated wear. Driving with very poor alignment will cause unsafe damage requiring immediate tire replacement! Avoid rapid tire wear and get the most out of them with wheel alignment service.
A wheel alignment service is budget-friendly — engine replacement is not. Your vehicle’s age, the condition of your tires, and your general driving habits will determine how often you will need a wheel alignment; every car, truck, and SUV will eventually need a wheel alignment repair.
If you think your vehicle may be due for service, don’t delay. At V&F Auto, we have the industry’s most advanced wheel alignment equipment. Bring your vehicle to our experts after any collision or impact. Talk with our team of experts about a regular schedule for performing inspections and making adjustments. Call us at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.