You hear a lot about the importance of wheel alignment, sometimes called tire alignment – mostly from car mechanics. But like a dentist who implores you to brush your teeth regularly, the automobile mechanics of the world are right. Wheel alignment is very important to the health of your vehicle. If your wheels aren’t aligned, it’s a little like ignoring a cold that turns into the full-blown flu.
Why wheel alignment is important. If we go with the health and body analogy, think of your wheel alignment as your spine. If your back goes out, it’s hard to walk, bend over or do much of anything. If your vehicle’s suspension system goes out of alignment that can lead to trouble with your tires, your vehicle and even your steering wheel. Wheel alignment is basically your car’s back.
Here’s what generally will happen if your wheel alignment is out of sorts.
Your tires will become uneven. Maybe not right away, but as you drive, your tires will start wearing unevenly. As you can probably imagine, uneven tires generally lead to having a tire blow out or a flat tire. It also becomes harder to drive steadily because your tires won’t be pointing in quite the right direction. Do your tires screech when you turn? That’s another clue that something may be amiss with your alignment.
Your vehicle. Your car may vibrate when wheels aren’t properly aligned. The problem here is that your wheels, as noted, aren’t all pointed in the right direction. So you’re driving forward where one wheel wants to go maybe slightly to the left, and another a shade to the right. Which means that, yes, your car is pretty close to having a nervous breakdown.
Your steering wheel. Because your wheels aren’t all pointed in the right direction, it becomes a little harder to steer. That’s because while you’re driving straight, or trying to, your steering wheel is a bit crooked.
What causes wheels to not be aligned. You may well wonder – what did I do wrong? And what did I do to deserve this? Absolutely nothing, probably. It’s just that potholes, hitting a curb or simple regular wear and tear can cause a tire, or tires, to become unaligned.
When you should get your wheels aligned. Obviously, if your car seems unsteady, and if you notice things like your steering wheel being crooked, you’ll want to bring it to Milex Complete Auto Care right away. Otherwise, once every two or three years is often a good bet (though if you have a sports car or really wide tires, you may want to come in once a year). If you’re really concerned, every 5,000 to 6,000 miles would be the optimal time to bring your car in for a wheel alignment. At the very least, when you buy four new tires, get off to a good start and ask the experts at Milex if your tires need an alignment.
Sure, getting a wheel alignment may not be loads of fun, but it’s one of those maintenance tasks that if you do it, you’ll be visiting our mechanics less often, and spending far less money, than if you wait for something to happen – by ignoring the screeching tires, crooked steering wheel and the vibrating car.
Remember, you wouldn’t ignore back pain. Your car is depending on you not to ignore wheel alignment. So make sure your wheels are aligned, and then you’ll have a dependable car that will always have your back.