If you’re a new car-owner or just someone who has never been in charge of car maintenance before, you might not be familiar with tire alignment. Many car-owners just know that this is something important do perform, why and when tire alignment is necessary is beyond them. Well, you’re going to a much more responsible driver than all of them and learn everything you need to know about tire alignment.
What is tire alignment?
Simply put, tire alignment is the process of vehicle suspension adjustment (suspension connects your car to its wheels). During the alignment, your specialist will adjust the suspension, not tires or wheels. Proper alignment adjusts the angles of the tires and the way they touch the road.
When do you need tire alignment?
As a driver, there are a few ways you can tell whether your wheels are aligned or not. Some of the best indicators are vehicle pulling to the left or right, uneven tread wear, steering wheel off center when driving straight and weird vibrations in the steering wheel.
Usually, the first thing people notice when their alignment is messed up is the steering wheel pull to one side. Experiencing regular drift is normal, but it’s not the same as steering pull. For instance, all roads are higher in the center and lower to the sides. This design has the purpose to provide good water drainage. Crowning of the road means that if you’re driving in the right lane and let go of the wheel, your car will start turning right, and vice versa. To test whether your car really has issues with alignment, find a big empty parking lot and drive on a smooth section. If your car still starts pulling to the left or right, it’s time to visit a mechanic.
Another easy way to notice improper tire alignment is to inspect your tires for uneven wear. Start your inspection by turning your steering wheel all the way to one side so you can freely see and feel the tread. If you notice that one side is more worn out than the other, you’re probably experiencing some alignment issues. Check the back tires as well, because it’s also possible to perform steering angle adjustment in the back as well.
Whenever you feel any of the symptoms listed above, it’s a great idea to visit your local mechanic and ask for an inspection. It’s very easy to book your appointment, especially in urban environments like Los Angeles or Sydney—these cities have a large concentration of both cars and mechanics. Just search for car inspection Sydney and you’ll be directed towards an experienced garage of professionals who will carefully look at your tires and offer solutions to your issues. Using state of the art 3D laser-guided technology, your mechanics will look at your camber (inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle), toe (the extent to which your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above) and caster (the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle). After the inspection, they will use their wheel alignment equipment to accurately align your wheels and boost your safety on the road.
Difference between tire alignment and balancing
When learning about tire alignment, you might also notice something called tire balancing. This action is different from tire alignment, and it’s used to correct any weight imbalance between tires and wheels. It’s often performed together with wheel alignment and can prevent premature tread wear and maximize your tire lifespan and overall car performance.
Why do you need tire alignment?
Tire alignment is not free, so why should you invest in it? Proper tire alignment (and balancing) will prevent premature wear on your tires and ensure the proper functioning of your suspension and brakes. It also improves your car’s stability and handling which boost driving experience and safety.
Now that you know what to pay attention to, give your car a spin and perform an at-home tire inspection. In case you notice any issues, ring up your local garage and solve your problem quickly and efficiently.