Even if your wheels are correctly aligned when you buy your vehicle, they likely won’t stay that way forever. Potholes, car accidents, and general wear and tear can all knock your wheels out of alignment, compromising safety and handling when driving. When done by a trusted professional mechanic, a wheel alignment service will correct these problems.
What Does a Wheel Alignment Do?
Despite the name, wheel alignment doesn’t actually adjust your car’s wheels—it’s an adjustment of the suspension. Your suspension affects the angle of your wheels and the way your tires connect with the road, and by adjusting it, mechanics can reduce wear and stress placed on your vehicle.
During alignments, your mechanic will examine and adjust several factors:
- Toe: the angle at which the tires point toward or away from each other when viewed from above
- Camber: the inward or outward tilt of the wheel when viewed from the front of the vehicle
- Caster: the forward or backward angle of the steering pivot points
Wheel alignments can help improve your gas mileage by reducing the friction between the rubber and road. And speaking of saving money—new tires can be expensive, and misaligned tires wear down faster. Alignment service improves your tire’s lifespan by encouraging even tread wear, allowing you to go longer between tire replacements.
However, the importance of wheel alignment is not just a matter of saving money. When your wheels are out of alignment, your vehicle often pulls to one side, making it harder to handle and control safely.
How Can I Tell if I Need a Wheel Alignment?
Because the need for a wheel alignment might come from general wear over time or one single impact, it’s hard to give a time frame at which wheel alignments should be performed. However, you can use these common signs of wheel misalignment to determine if you should have your car checked by a mechanic:
- Uneven or unnaturally fast tread wear
- Steering wheel remains off-center when driving straight
- Steering wheel vibrates
- Squealing tires
- Vehicle pulls to one side
While there are plenty of car maintenance tasks you can perform by yourself, wheel alignments are best left to the professionals. Since 2001, Advanced Repair has been providing the St. Cloud area with car repair services at honest prices. We have the expertise and experience to get you safely back on the road—contact us today to make an appointment for a wheel alignment service.