Your car’s wheels are the only parts of your vehicle that stay in touch with the driving surface (hopefully!). However, they do not get the respect they deserve. Many of us only think of the wheel and tire when we suffer a puncture. If that happens, we either call emergency roadside assistance or change the flat ourselves and get on our way and forget about the wheel, which plays an important role in the overall functioning and performance of your vehicle.
The wheels of your car should be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the road. When this alignment changes, it has a profound effect on the performance of your vehicle. By taking your car for regular wheel alignment, you can ensure your car functions the way it should. However, there are many benefits of getting the wheels of your car aligned by a professional. Here are some of these benefits:
Boost Fuel Economy
If the wheels of your car are not aligned properly, it will exert uneven pressure on the car tires. As a result, the tires have to deal with more resistance and friction from the surface of the road. When this happens, the car engine has to work harder to overcome the friction and resistance, causing your vehicle to burn more fuel.
Properly aligned wheels help you save money on fuel and also ensure a smooth ride sans or without the friction.
Saving on New Tires
You may already know how expensive new car tires are. So the last thing you need is spending money on a new set of wheels, as you will have to change all tires in one go. If the alignment of the wheels is off, the rubber is put through a lot of wear and tear because of the additional pressure. This causes the rubber to wear off. Misaligned wheels usually have bald treads on one side of the tire.
Your insurance will not cover the cost of the new tires, as the wearing of the rubber is due to poor car maintenance and not a manufacturing defect or accident. If you align the wheels regularly, you can enhance the life of the tires and save on spending money on new tires.
When wheels are not properly aligned, you will find the car pulling to one side of the road. This makes the steering difficult, especially in wet and wintery road conditions. This puts you at risk and increases the possibility of accidents.
Spending a little money on wheel alignment will allow you to control your car in the best possible fashion, regardless of the road conditions.
Preventing Damage to Other Car Components
When the wheels of your car are not properly aligned, it can lead to other problems that can be expensive to fix. The uneven tire pressure puts the steering system through a lot of stress, as the steering keeps shifting to one side. It also can result in uneven braking and adversely affect the suspension system of the car.
Remember these systems comprise of many different parts and getting them fixed or replaced can cost a lot of money.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
When you burn more fuel, there are more emissions. So, if you want to truly do something for the environment, you should make sure your car’s wheels are properly aligned. This way, you will not be burning fuel unnecessarily and adding to the already existing problem of air pollution.
Wheel alignment is a majestic way to reduce your carbon footprint even if you are a regular car user.
When is Wheel Alignment Justified?
Your car will give you several indications when it is time to head to a reputable and reliable car repair workshop to get the wheels aligned. However, the general consensus is wheel alignment should be done every 6 months or 6,000 miles, depending on which comes earlier. You also should get your car’s wheels aligned if you hit a large stone, rock, pothole, or the sidewalk while driving. This “minor” collision can cause the alignment to be a little off.
Other tell-tale signs that your car requires wheel alignment include:
- Your car is veering to one side while driving
- You notice uneven tread wear
- The steering is vibrating or wobbling under your hands
- The tires make a squealing sound when you are taking turns
You also should get the wheels aligned if you get some suspension or steering parts replaced.
Wheel alignment requires special equipment and knowledge. It is quite different from wheel balancing, where the balance between the rim and tire is adjusted. So don’t let a repair workshop fool you into believing they are one and the same. They are not. Though if you go to a car shop that is knowledgeable and genuine they will know the difference.
Now that you know the importance of wheel alignment, it is time you take matters into your hands. Spending a little money regularly on wheel alignment will save you in the long run.