Driving a vehicle without proper tire alignment can bring on several dangerous risks. That’s why proper alignment is a necessary part of owning a car.
Still, many wonder, “How often should you get an alignment?” After all, it could vary from owner to owner. And various situations, such as road conditions, can also affect your alignment.
Want to know the answer? Then it’s time for you to check out our guide to wheel alignments and how often you need them! Read on!
What is a Wheel Alignment?
A wheel alignment is an important service for a vehicle every few thousand miles or so, to ensure safe driving and even tire wear. Wheel alignments involve recalibrating the angles of your vehicle’s suspension components to factory specifications. This includes the caster, camber, and toe angles.
The caster angle determines how the steering behaves, while the camber angle affects tire wear. An alignment also ensures that all four tires point in the same direction and will travel in the same path.
What Are the Benefits of a Wheel Alignment?
Getting regular wheel alignment is good for many reasons. First and foremost, they make your car safer by ensuring it handles well and reacts to your steering inputs predictably. Proper alignment improves steadiness and control, which lowers the chance of an accident, especially in an emergency.
Alignment also helps tires last longer and work better. When your wheels are properly centered, the tires wear evenly. This keeps the inside or outside edges from wearing down too quickly.
This means that the tires will last longer and cost less to repair. Also, wheels that are aligned have less moving resistance, which makes your car use less gas and saves you money at the pump.
Furthermore, keeping the vehicle balanced helps other suspension parts last longer. Misalignment can put extra stress on parts like ball joints, tie rod ends, and wheel bearings, which can cause them to wear out faster or even break. By balancing your wheels regularly, you reduce the stress on these parts and make them last longer.
What Are the Signs of Improper Wheel Alignment?
You should keep an eye out for several signs to tell you when it’s time for wheel alignment. These signs include steering wheel vibrations and pulling to one side when driving.
Another sign of improper wheel alignment is when the steering wheel isn’t pointing straight ahead after turning. In some cases, the tire would also sequel when turning.
You may also notice uneven or rapid tire wear. If you’re experiencing any of these signs, getting an alignment as soon as possible is important to avoid further damage to the vehicle and its tires.
How Often Should You Get an Alignment?
Wheel alignments are critical to maintaining your vehicle’s performance and safety. Getting a wheel alignment at least once a year or every 10,000 miles is recommended, whichever comes first. If the vehicle carries a wide array of heavy loads, then twice a year is recommended.
If you often drive on rough roads, uneven surfaces, or through potholes, your car may get out of line faster. In this case, you may need to adjust your wheels more often, like every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
Consult your vehicle’s owner manual to check their recommendations and specific requirements for your car. Also, consult a professional mechanic to determine the best alignment schedule for your specific vehicle and driving conditions.
What Factors Affect the Frequency of Wheel Alignment Checks?
The frequency at which you should get a wheel alignment depends on several factors. While it is a good practice to include alignment as part of your routine vehicle maintenance, it is also important to consider specific situations that may require more frequent alignments. Here are some common causes of misalignment:
Poor Road Conditions
Poor road conditions, like potholes, speed bumps, and uneven surfaces, can have a big effect on how straight your wheels are. When you hit these bumps in the road quickly or hard, it can throw the wheels out of line.
Accidents and Collisions
Even a small accident can cause the wheels to not be in the right place. The collision can change the angles of the suspension, steering, and wheel alignment.
Worn Suspension Components
Suspension parts like ball joints, control arms, bushings, and tie rod ends can wear out or come loose over time. When these parts are old, they can throw off the alignment and cause other problems.
Normal Wear and Tear
As a car gets older, its parts can wear out and lose their alignment sets. Maintenance and alignment checks should be done on a regular basis to catch and fix any imbalance caused by normal wear and tear.
Improper Tire Inflation
When tires aren’t inflated correctly, they wear out unevenly and can get out of balance. Tires that are too full or flat can cause the car to pull to one side and, over time, get out of balance.
When carrying heavy loads, your vehicle’s tires can become knocked out of alignment more easily. This leads to reduced tire life, as well as increased fuel consumption.
How to Maintain Proper Alignment?
Proper wheel alignment is necessary for any vehicle’s overall safety and reliability. Knowing how to care for your wheels can reduce the need for alignment.
Be careful when driving on roads that are bumpy, uneven, or have potholes. Drive slowly or try to avoid them altogether.
Changing your car’s suspension or tire size may need to be realigned to ensure the shape and performance are correct. If your car needs to be aligned, hire a qualified auto repair mechanic or a reputable alignment expert. They have the right tools and know-how to align your wheels correctly.
Keep Your Vehicle in Top Shape Through Proper Wheel Alignment
Alignments help ensure your car is operating at its optimum performance and can also help prevent unexpected expenses caused by premature tire wear. How often should you get an alignment?
Some may recommend every 1-3 years, while some may recommend anywhere between 6,000 to 15,000 miles. There are many factors at play, so it is important to know when your car needs alignment by following this guide. Schedule a wheel alignment appointment today to ensure your car is driving safely and efficiently.
Also Read: Porsche Macan Maintenance Cost