Wheel Alignments – A Must Have Service For Summer
Before we get started it’s important to note that with the increases in driving done over the summer, ALL services are must haves for both safety and economy. A car that is ready to tackle anything the open road can throw at it is much easier to maintain and will save you more in the long run.
A wheel alignment is so important because not only can improperly aligned wheels be racking up the costs for you, they can also put you in danger. With some advice and service from Gary’s Automotive, summer driving can be a breeze.
What Is A Wheel Alignment Actually?
Many people think that a wheel alignment is simply pointing the wheels in the right direction and calling it a day. To be honest, that isn’t necessarily wrong. Wheel alignments straighten out your wheels in a number of different directions. Sided to side (like how you steer) is what most people would consider a wheel alignment. However, there are also adjustments to be done up and down (like suspension) and back and forth (think of your wheels leaning to one side). These different directions help keep your wheels in firm contact with the road.
When you get a wheel alignment, your vehicle is raised and each wheel is subjected to computer testing for precision and accuracy. In some cases, a wheel balance may be required. Wheel balancing is needed when the steel belts in the tires create more weight at a specific point on the wheel. Smaller weights are added to keep the wheel in balance and rotating evenly. Once the tire is balanced then the rest of the wheel is aligned as well. This involves making sure the suspension in proper set and that all parts of the wheel, such as the control arms and ball joints are in good working order.
What Makes A Wheel Alignment So Important?
A wheel alignment is one of the services on your vehicle that not only factors into safety, but also into how maintenance costs. both are important aspects to consider when owning a vehicle. When done as preventative maintenance, an alignment can both keep you safe and prevent vehicle costs from skyrocketing.
Safety: The first thing to consider when looking into a wheel alignment is how it affects safety. Improperly aligned wheels will be more difficult to control and drive in inclement weather. Even a little rain can turn into a slick surface with improperly aligned wheels. The constant pulling in one direction due to improperly aligned wheels can put excess stress on different parts of your wheels as well, amplifying any existing problems and creating the opportunity for more components to fail. As we’ll talk about more, improper wheel alignment can also create tire wear, which can limit the amount of control and traction your tires have, even on dry surfaces.
Cost: So it’s no surprise that keeping your wheels straight can help in terms of safety, the more precise control you have over your vehicle the better. Keeping properly aligned wheels can also save you much more in terms of operating costs for your vehicle. There are a couple of ways this works.
As mentioned above, improperly aligned wheels will create uneven tire wear. This is because tires are designed to roll in a specific way. When the wheels aren’t aligned, the tires don’t roll properly, and the tire wear becomes irregular. Tires that don’t wear in their intended fashion will need to be replaced before ones that roll correctly on properly aligned wheels.
If tires are being dragged and worn out quicker, then costs will rise not only in new tires, but also in fuel. One of the largest factors in fuel economy is rolling resistance, or how much force it takes to make the wheels roll. Improperly aligned wheels can create an increase in rolling resistance, making your vehicle consumer more fuel.
When Should I Get An Alignment?
An often overlooked service, wheel alignments should really be done every 10,000km. This prevents the issues with alignment from spiraling into something much more severe and ensures your vehicle is operating at prime efficiency. You don’t have to wait 10,000km to get an alignment though, if you notice your vehicle is pulling to one side or you see bald spots on your tire, then book service right away. Gary’s is here to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable summer, so remember to keep those wheels straight as you head off into summer!