Your wheels are easily one of the most important parts on your car. They move you forward and support the vehicle’s weight. Because wheels are such a crucial part of your car, it’s important to maintain them – including keeping them in proper alignment. Think of wheel alignment as someone’s shoulder popping out of its socket: It’ll hurt to move their arm and they’ll likely just feel off until it’s back in place.
Proper Alignment Saves You Money
Preserving a proper wheel alignment is considered one of the most basic preventative maintenance tactics for your car. Poor wheel alignment causes uneven wear on your tires because it puts undue friction on certain wheels, or parts of a wheel, rather than spreading the load evenly. Uneven wear on your tires will require you to replace them more often, which can become very costly. Furthermore, your tires will have a higher risk of dangerous blowouts on the road.
Poor alignment can also wreck the suspension and steering systems of your car as they try to overcorrect for the misalignment issues. Damage to these systems is typically much more costly, and must be checked and repaired before a wheel alignment can be performed. The damage that misalignment causes also depletes fuel economy, meaning you’re spending more on gas.
The ideal alignment varies for each vehicle and is set by your vehicle’s engineers and manufacturer.
How Do Wheels Become Misaligned?
Off-roading in cars that aren’t built for that activity can be hazardous to not only your wheel alignment, but your undercarriage and engine as well. However, you don’t have to be a daredevil to experience misaligned wheels. And although safe driving helps maintain your car in all aspects, it turns out that even normal driving can knock your wheels out of their proper alignment.
Everything from curb checks and potholes to uneven or gravel roads can misalign your wheels. Even small bumps in the road can prove to be problematic. Practically anything can bump your wheels out of alignment – and it probably happens more than you’d think.
Wheel Alignment Warning Signs
Wheel alignment inspections should be included in your car’s manufacturer-recommended service intervals. Meaning that you should get your alignment checked periodically, usually every year or two, to stay on top and prevent any potential and unnoticed damage, just like your yearly health checkup.
Even if you are regularly checking your wheel alignment, you’ll need to be aware of the warning signs – because misalignment can happen anytime, and can be detrimental to the safety and longevity of your car. If you notice any of the following while driving, get a wheel alignment service as soon as possible:
- Your car is pulling while driving due to your wheels tracking incorrectly. If you have to correct for your car pulling to one side by turning the steering wheel off-center, it’s time to check the alignment.
- The wear on your tires is not even, or they are wearing down too quickly. As mentioned, misaligned wheels will put more stress on parts of a wheel or different wheels. To determine this, check the depth of your tires’ tread.
- If you’ve had wheel damage to your car, you should get your alignment checked. As mentioned, anything can cause misalignment, but if your car has recently been hit near the wheel, it’s much more likely.
If you’ve recently been on rough roads, that could also be an indicator to get your wheels checked early to catch anything before significant damage happens.
Stay on The Straight and Narrow with Kennedy Transmissions
Your car’s wheel alignment can be a finicky thing. There are three types of adjustments: toe, camber, and caster. They adjust for every angle that your car’s wheels can go out of alignment. At Kennedy Transmissions, we know how to get your wheels back on track, and you back on the road. Find your nearest Kennedy Transmission service location to get a wheel alignment service.
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