Wheel Alignment Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a wheel alignment so important?
Picture yourself cruising down the most beautiful road in the world. Now imagine driving down that same road with your wheels pointing the wrong way. Not the most beautiful road in the world anymore.
Alignment is a really complex topic covering a variety of terms and a smorgasbord of parts. When your wheels are out of alignment, your tires aren’t pointing in the right direction. This will affect your steering and suspension, but more importantly, it could affect your safety and the durability of your tires and all the parts controlling them.
How do vehicles lose their wheel alignment?
It doesn’t take much, that’s for sure. There are many ways for your car to lose its alignment. You’ll be familiar with most of the causes, but what you probably didn’t think was that each one could do quite a number on your vehicle’s alignment.
Wheel alignment can be thrown off by:
- Pot holes
- Hitting the curb
- Bumping into concrete parking stalls
- Fair wear and tear – as vehicles age, rubber components start cracking or lose their elasticity and ball and socket joints develop looseness. They start to give a little more, progressively getting slightly worse over time.
Alignment angles are measured in tenths and hundredths of degrees or inches. Over time, a slight misalignment can cause a lot of uneven or premature tire wear. Put your next alignment in the hands of an alignment pro. Call us today.
What happens if I don’t get my wheels aligned?
We cringe just thinking of someone never having an alignment performed on his or her vehicle. What will ultimately end up happening is you’ll throw a lot of money down the drain on tires because, with out proper alignment, tires wear down a lot faster. Simple as that. And you’ll most likely notice something’s wrong while you’re driving; your vehicle will probably not handle as well as it should and, in the most extreme cases, you could have a pretty difficult time maintaining control of your ride altogether. All this bad news is, fortunately for you, easily preventable by having your wheels aligned when needed.
How often should I have my alignment checked?
Long live longer tire life. We recommend an Alignment Check with every other oil change. A lot happens over the course of 6,000 miles. You drive through pot holes, travel down gravely stretches of road, or worse, knock your wheels on the curb while making a turn. All these things can impact the way your tires sit, throwing off alignment in an instant.
Do vehicles have different types of alignment specifications?
Every model that rolls off the assembly line has unique alignment specifications. Alignment specs are determined by the vehicle manufacturer for each make and model. The size, length, weight and intended use of the vehicle all play a role in the determining the correct alignment angles.
Why is it so hard to determine if my car’s alignment is off?
It’s not you, it’s your eyes. We mere humans can’t see in fractions of degrees without technology. It only takes a minuscule amount of misalignment to have a huge impact on tire life. So, signs and symptoms of poor wheel alignment, unfortunately, aren’t always right there staring you in face.
How are alignments different today?
Alignments aren’t different per se, but vehicles are more advanced and precise now than ever before. And at today’s prices we expect more from our rides, that’s for sure. Let’s just say a lot has changed since dad was driving that Oldsmobile. As a result, maintaining the ride and performance that modern vehicles are capable of, a proper alignment must take into account where the rear wheels are pointed.
There’s more vehicle variety on the road these days, too. Vehicles have different purposes. Some have rear steering capabilities. Some have stability controls or dynamic stability controls or active stability management or SAS (Steering Angle Sensors). Every car manufacturer is different and requires different methods to adjust each unique system.
About Baier’s Auto Time in Ft. Walton Beach, FL
Baiers Auto Time employee’s ASE Certified Technicians with years of experience specializing in diagnostics, repairs and maintenance.
Baier’s Auto Time maintains the highest levels of certifications and education as well as up-to-date diagnostic equipment and software. Baier’s Auto Time is able to service all makes and models of cars, light trucks & SUVs and offers a 24 Month/24,000 Mile Nationwide Warranty honored by over 17,000 NAPA AutoCare Centers throughout the US.
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