Does your car need an alignment?
Do you know if your vehicle would benefit by having a 4-wheel alignment? See if you notice one or more of the following:
- Does your car feel like it drifts or pulls to the side?
- Does your steering wheel sit off center even when you are driving straight?
- Are your tires wearing unevenly? Is the tire tread worn more on the inside or outside of your tires?
- Do you feel vibration while driving? (this could also be a problem with the wheel balance)
Having your wheels aligned makes sure that the wheels are both perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Alignments are important because it will improve your fuel mileage (through reduced rolling resistance) and extend the life of your tires, saving you $$$ in the long run!
At Honest Accurate Auto Service, we use a state-of-the-art laser alignment machine. Not only is it extremely accurate, it gives us a before and after alignment printout that shows you exactly what is out of alignment, as well as documenting the alignment measurements after our technician makes the proper adjustments. If your vehicle does not need an alignment, you will simply be charged for an alignment check.
What adjustments are made when an alignment is performed on your vehicle? Three things are evaluated and measured: camber, caster and toe. Camber is the vertical alignment of the wheel, and it looks at whether the tire is perpendicular the surface. Camber is “zero” if the wheel is sitting perfectly perpendicular to the road. Caster directly influences directional control when steering. Positive caster is when the wheel is slightly behind the axis of motion, where the wheel then follows the steering movement (think of the way a wheel is offset on a shopping cart). Toe is the inward or outward directionality of the front of the tire (think “pigeon toed” for inward direction).
What causes improper alignment? Any jolt to the wheel or steering components, such as hitting a curb or a pothole, can pull the wheel(s) out of alignment. Wearing and deterioration of components over time, combined with road vibration, can also contribute to your wheels being out of alignment.
During an alignment, suspension and steering components are adjusted to bring each of these (camber, caster and toe) into their correct specifications. Adjustments can be made to bring the wheel back into the position that is best suited for your vehicle, improving steering and prolonging tire life.
If you have recently bought new tires, be sure and have your wheels aligned to insure proper wear on the tires from the start. With tires running anywhere from $100-300/apiece, a $100 4-wheel alignment is well worth the cost. Or if you notice that your steering wheel is pulling to one side or another, be sure and have your alignment checked. You will save money in the long run and the performance of your vehicle will be improved too!
March is a good time to have your alignment checked, after a rough pothole season! Extend the life of your tires by having an Alignment Check done now – during the month of March 2020, we are running an Alignment Special, which also includes a full vehicle inspection. Call for an appointment at either of our shops and let us make sure you are driving with your tires pointed in the right direction!