A Car Owner’s Guide to Wheel Alignment and Why It’s So Important
Regular maintenance and repairs are important aspects of automobile ownership. Wheel alignments fall under the category of regular maintenance, and should also be performed in a number of special cases. It may seem strange that a vehicle with properly working parts should need to be aligned, but with a better understanding of how alignment works the reasons become clear. Read on to learn all about wheel alignments and why they are so important.
Why are wheel alignments important?
Vehicles are equipped with a number of safety features to help avoid accidents as well as improve safety in the event a collision occurs. Of course, avoiding an accident is the preferred option, and wheel alignment plays one of the biggest roles in a driver’s ability to control their vehicle. Alignment also affects how tires, suspension, and steering components wear. If wheel alignment is off, tires will wear more rapidly and unevenly, and steering and suspension components will have a greater chance of failing. All of these side effects are both dangerous and costly.
What needs to be adjusted?
Alignment is affected by steering and suspension components. Adjusting these components affects how the wheels are positioned in relation to the ground and vehicle. Camber, caster, and toe are the key aspects of alignment. Camber is the measure of a wheel’s angle in relation to the ground and greatly affects tire wear. Caster relates to the area where the wheel pivots at and greatly affects steering. Toe is the angle which the wheels are offset from pointing directly forward and affects tire wear and steering.
How often should They be performed?
As a rule of thumb, wheel alignments should be performed at least once a year or every 12,000 miles. However, they should also be performed in a few different cases. Always have an alignment done after having new tires or any new suspension or steering parts installed. If a vehicle is pulling, vibrating, or has uneven tire wear, have an alignment performed.
Murray’s Auto Clinics offers a range of automotive services including wheel alignments. Contact us online or by telephone at 301-585-7557 to schedule an appointment.