As drivers, we often pay attention to the engine performance, tire tread, and brake maintenance of our vehicles. However, there's one crucial aspect that can sometimes go unnoticed but plays a significant role in both safety and overall vehicle performance: wheel alignment. Whether you're a seasoned driver or a novice behind the wheel, understanding the importance of proper wheel alignment is essential for maintaining your car's health and ensuring a smooth and safe driving experience.
Tire Alignment - An Overview:
Alignment denotes an adjustment in the suspension of the vehicle. The suspension is what connects the vehicle to the tires. The idea behind adjustment is to angle the tire in a way that it makes proper and aligned contact with the road.
The Need for Alignment in New Tires
It is not mandatory to have wheel alignment in your new tires, but there are benefits of doing the same. An alignment works to make sure that all four tires on your vehicle are angled correctly with one another and the road.
Without an alignment in your new tires, you are likely to experience an unsteady ride and uneven wear on the tires. And your tires may experience wear and tear prior to the normal time, thereby shortening the lifespan.
This can result in you having to change tires more frequently. While there are many affordable options to buy tires, nobody wants to spend money constantly changing tires and a wheel alignment can help you to achieve more miles out of the new tire set.
How Often Do You Need to Change the Alignment?
Typically, it is recommended to change your tire’s alignment once a year. However, clear instructions regarding this are mentioned in the owner’s manual and, your driving condition also determines the time frame at which you need to change alignment.
For instance, if you drive in extreme weather conditions or the road situation in your region is not adequate, then you may have to change the alignment more frequently. Following are some of the signs that indicate that it is time for a change.
- Your vehicle is making a flopping sound while driving. This sound indicates alignment issues, underinflated tires, or both.
- You hit a sudden pothole that jarred your vehicle.
- Your vehicle is veering from side to side.
The Prominence of Wheel Alignment
Having the tires aligned and getting them checked on a regular basis can help you save a significant amount of money. As we mentioned above, inadequately aligned tires can experience faster wear and tear; therefore, they are needed to be replaced more often.
But that is not it; misaligned tires can also drop the gas mileage up to 10%. Therefore, getting wheel alignment can help in saving fuel, thereby reducing the cost of filling up the tank more often.
Do All Four Tires Need to Be Aligned Together?
Most vehicles, including cars, vans, small SUVs, etc. need a four-tire alignment. Some vehicles featuring real solid axles can work fine with having just their front wheels aligned.
But, if all four wheels of your tires can be aligned, then always choose that. Look out for the above-mentioned signs, and if your vehicle experiences any of the signs, get it checked by a licensed technician.
Keep Up With Your Alignments
Getting a wheel alignment for your vehicle is a wise decision that can have a significant impact on your driving experience and the longevity of your tires. While it may be tempting to overlook this maintenance task, the benefits of proper wheel alignment far outweigh the cost and effort involved. From improved fuel efficiency and tire lifespan to enhanced handling and safety, a wheel alignment ensures that your vehicle performs at its best. So, if you find yourself experiencing uneven tire wear, steering wheel vibrations, or drifting to one side, it's time to schedule a wheel alignment. Trust me, your vehicle and your wallet will thank you in the long run. Don't wait until the signs become more pronounced—take proactive action and enjoy a smoother, safer, and more enjoyable ride.