What is an Alignment?
Essentially, alignments keep your wheels pointed in the right direction. When performing an alignment, the suspension components of your vehicle are adjusted to bring the wheels and tires into specific angles which allows for optimal vehicle handling, tire wear and performance.
There are two types; a two-wheel and a four-wheel alignment. The specifications differ by vehicle. Since misalignment happens gradually, it’s hard to tell with a naked eye unless in extreme cases.
Ron’s Garage has a top of the line alignment rack by Hunter Engineering that will tell us the camber, caster, and toe in/toe out specifications. Our free Alignment check will let us know if your vehicle needs a 2 wheel or 4 wheel adjustment.
Why Is An Alignment Important?
Regular alignments will save you a lot of money in the long run. They allow your tires to make proper road contact which provides a smooth ride and good vehicle handling. Alignments provide optimal tire wear, which give your tires full tread life. They also allow for more MPGs to get the best gas mileage.
When Should You Get An Alignment?
While there aren’t any manufacturer recommended intervals for alignments, it’s important to check the alignment at least once a year. A good time to do it is when you get your tires rotated. Never hurts to check… better to be safe than sorry!
If you drive on particularly rough roads, it’s best to check the alignment twice a year since rough roads are a common cause of misaligned vehicles. Since we live in Ann Arbor, MI (the pothole capital of Michigan), Ron’s Garage recommends checking the alignment twice a year, but good news… alignment checks are free of charge!
Any time you hit a pothole, a pesky curb, or even if you get into a fender bender, it’s a good time to get your vehicle checked.
Purchasing new tires is another reason to get an alignment. Misaligned vehicles are notorious for uneven tread wear, so it makes sense to have everything set up correctly from the get go. No reason to ruin those beautiful brand new tires!
When you replace or adjust suspension components that affect your tires, it’s definitely time to get an alignment. This could be when you perform any work related to your struts, shocks, ball joints, tie rods, bushings or control arms.
How Can I Tell If My Car Is Misaligned?
There are a couple of tell tale signs that your car may be misaligned, however, a few of these reasons could be caused by something else. So if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, come on in for a free alignment check.
- If you feel your car drifting or “pulling” to one side or another.
- If your Steering Wheel is off center.
- If your tires squeal while turning.
- If you notice that your tires are unevenly wearing. Look at both sides of the tires to see how deep the tread looks. If one side looks smoother than the other, it is wearing unevenly.
- Picture Caption: You can see the how the left side of the tire has worn down more than the right side of it.
- When you lower or lift your vehicle. This impacts the chassis height, which will impact the alignment.
- If you see that the angle of wheel misaligned. This is rarely seen by the naked eye, but if you do see it, come on over!
What Happens If My Car Is Misaligned?
Driving while your car is misaligned could cause a couple very expensive problems. The life of your tire will be shortened, and we all know how much tires cost! You may also have compromised steering and/or suspension parts. Depending on which component it is, the repair bill could be costly.
Anything I Can Do From Home?
If you suspect that you need an alignment, but can’t make it into Ron’s Garage right away, there are a couple of things you can do while you wait for your appointment. Check your tire pressure – it could be that your tires are underinflated, and that’s a simple fix! (Picture Caption: You can check the tire pressure information on the inside of the Driver’s door.)
Another thing to check is how full your trunk is. The added weight off items in your trunk could be throwing off your alignment, so remove all the heavy items before your appointment.
If you haven’t checked your alignment in the last year, call us today so we can schedule a Free Alignment Check for your vehicle! We’d love to help. Stay tuned for our next blog where we will dive in deeper to explain how to read the Alignment Printout.