Many of us don't realize the importance of proper wheel alignment on our cars. We tend to think that nothing much happens to our tires other than an occasional puncture. Nothing can be further from the truth. It is very important that we regularly get our wheels aligned, and some say it should be done as often as we get the car serviced.
Wheel alignment is making sure that the wheels of the car are perpendicular to the road; also, it makes sure that the wheels are parallel to one other.
When the wheels of the car are not aligned there is uneven pressure on the tires. They tend to push against each other. When that happens the car faces uneven friction and much more resistance from the road surface. This means that your car has to work that much harder to move forward and more fuel is burned than normal.
When you align the wheels properly the there is much less resistance from the road surface. This results in not only a smoother drive but sometimes noticeable savings on your gas receipts.
Caring For Your Environment
In today’s "Green" world, there is so much talk about saving the environment, and we know that the burning of fossil fuels are a major cause of pollution. This is one way of doing our bit by using a little less fuel.
Cost Of New Tires
The importance of proper wheel alignment cannot be more emphasized when we compare the cost of brand new tires to the little amount spent on getting them aligned.
More resistance to the road surface means more pressure on the rubber of your tires. That leads to very quick wear and tear on the tires. It results in the tire becoming bald on one side. This means that the tires are uneven. Not only is it dangerous to drive on uneven tires, it also means that you have to spend on new tires sooner.
Many of us think that everything is covered in the warranty of the tire manufacturer. Take the time to read the fine print. No warranty is extended if the tires are kept in shoddy condition. This is not a manufacturing defect; it is due to poor maintenance of the tires on our part, and it is not fair to hold them responsible.
It is very important to consider the safety factor too. Have you ever driven a car which pulls itself to one side all the time? This is due to faulty wheel alignment. You probably know how difficult it is to drive on a wet or iced road even with perfectly aligned wheels. With badly aligned wheels, you are taking on unnecessary risk. Is it worth having an accident and endangering the lives of loved ones? A little money spent once in a while getting your wheels aligned can bring you peace of mind.
Strain On The Car
Having a car with badly aligned wheels also leads to other connected problems. Your brake shaft does not work to optimal levels. The tendency to pull to one side due to uneven tires causes problems in the steering system. It also leads to uneven braking. Improper wheel alignments or not having your wheels aligned will affect the suspension of your car. The suspension in a car is made up of complicated and delicately balanced parts, and it is important that it should be perfect, not to mention that changing your suspension could cost an awful lot.
When Should You Get Your Wheels Aligned?
If you find that when your steering is pointing straight forward and the car veers to the right or left, that is an indicator of a necessary wheel alignment. Another indicator is when you find that one tire is worn more than another.
The thumb rule is that you should get you wheels aligned once every 6000 miles or 6 months, whichever is earlier. You should also get your wheels aligned or at least checked by a professional if you have hit something large enough to cause alignment issues.
Note that wheel alignment is not the same as wheel balancing. Many people think that both are the same. Many tire retailers will tell you that they are the same thing. Wheel balancing is simply adjusting the balance between the tire and the rim. It is important not to get confused between the two.