Being a car owner means being vigilant about your car’s maintenance needs whenever they arise. Neglecting this responsibility can cause damage to the vehicle and become a safety concern for the driver. The wheels of the car are the main reason why it can take you places. Regular alignment can keep them in shape without needing hefty repairs.
The tire alignment process is adjusting the angle of each of the wheels so that they align properly with the car. If the tire is not aligned properly friction can cause it to get damaged easily. Correct alignment from time to time is important to extend the life of all the four tires and have a smooth journey.
In this article, we will explore the process of tire alignment and figure out how often it should be done for your vehicle’s health.
What Is Tire Alignment?
Tire alignment happens in multiple respects and is the adjustment of the tires to get them at the right angles. The wheels should be well aligned with each other and the roads so that the suspension system can work properly. It is important to have the process done by a professional with a machine for the best service.
The wheel and axle of the vehicle have to be adjusted so that they move forward together rather than going in different directions. All the suspension angles are directly related to the movement of the wheels which need proper positioning. Each manufacturer designates certain angles for their vehicles which will be followed during this process.
It cannot be done at home because each degree matters in the smooth running of the vehicle. The process is also specifically dependent on the suspension system and how it affects the vehicle. It is better to enlist the help of professionals in such a case. Read more about the process and how professionals do it efficiently.
For instance, with a front wheel drive or a rear wheel drive, your car would need a front and alignment. However, with all wheel or four wheel drive, a four wheel alignment is required. There are many advantages to getting wheel adjustment done. But before knowing why tire alignment is beneficial it is important to know when it is needed.
When Is Tire Alignment Necessary?
It entirely depends on the mechanic and whether they see any improper adjustment of the wheels. When you go to the regular servicing appointment, the mechanic will also check the tires and tell you if alignment is in order. It will usually be recommended if the regular route your vehicle takes bumps which impact suspension.
The same goes for driving through difficult terrains. Another way to know when to go for an appointment is by looking at the steering wheel. If it does not go back to the center after turning, it might be an indicator of improper alignment. Having the steering wheel or vibrating is not normal and one should get it checked right away.
One indicator of improper wheel alignment is when the tires are wearing out unevenly. Since all four tires are driving on the same road, the wear patterns should be similar in all of them. In case there is a discrepancy it shows wrong adjustment of the wheels which causes high friction on one or two wheels.
Another easy way to know when to go to a mechanic is when your vehicle is slowly drifting to one side while driving normally. In case there is a sharp pool to one direction while driving it points to under inflation. But if the problem persists after inflation, it is time to visit a professional.
How Often To Do It?
While the servicing of the car happens more frequently, you do not need to match it with the wheel adjustment process. For a new car, doing it every 2 to 3 years is more than enough. However the frequency also depends on the manufacturers guidelines. The owner’s manual should ideally have all the necessary information regarding the frequency of maintenance and tire alignment.
Depending on how well the vehicle is functioning, one can get it anytime after 1 or 2 years. However, doing it every year is not recommended if the car is functioning well. If there are any specific circumstances that are leading the car to pull or drift, one should consider getting the tires checked. Otherwise, following the time frame of 2 to 3 years is more than enough.
What are the Benefits of Correct Wheel Alignment?
The process is very important for safety purposes and for the health of the tires. The driver will be able to maintain better control of the vehicle. It is also good for the suspension and steering system along with the life of the tires. The process will also optimize fuel efficiency.
Any car with improper alignment shows a decrease in their fuel efficiency by about 7 percent. Uneven wearing out of the tires can also negatively impact the stopping distance of the vehicle. This can become a cause of concern while driving in a wet condition. Maintaining a grip on the vehicle and how it drives is essential in all conditions.
How Long Does It Take?
Not everyone has a lot of time in their hands so knowing how long the process will take to complete can help them adjust their schedule. Whether one goes with a two or a four wheel drive, the maximum time it will take will be about 1 hour.
However, if the damage is too extensive, some parts of the suspension system or track rod would have to be replaced. However, longer repair and replacement can be avoided by being vigilant about the condition of the drive.
It is very easy to detect if there is something wrong with the alignment of the tires. One should be careful while driving if the vehicle is drifting to one side. Make sure to seek professional help.