A Wheel Alignment Is An Important Part Of Car Maintenance That Prolongs The Life Of Your Tires

A wheel alignment is part of basic maintenance for your car that you need to have done regularly. Your mechanic aligns the wheels when you get new tires, and then an alignment is done periodically after that to set the wheels back to their original specification. It's normal for wheels to move out of alignment so they have to be reset for your driving safety. Here's a look at how often you should have your car's wheels aligned and what's involved with this type of car service.

When To Have Wheels Aligned On Your Car

There is no set time period or mileage mark for getting a wheel alignment. Instead, follow your mechanic's recommendation based on the type of tires you have and the local driving conditions. The frequency of an alignment has more to do with the way you drive your car and the roads you drive on most often. If you live down a bumpy country lane, then you'll need an alignment more often than someone who always drives on smooth and flat roads.

Your mechanic may do an alignment every other time your tires are rotated or every other time you have an oil change. However, if you hit a pothole hard, collide with a car, or run into a parking curb, you may want to have your wheels checked to see if they need to be aligned.

How You Get Wheels Aligned

You can't always tell by sight when wheels are out of alignment, but sometimes you can tell because tires are worn down unevenly. The best way to know if your wheels are out of alignment is to have them measured by a machine at the mechanic's shop. You'll be able to tell how much the wheels are out of alignment, and when repairs are done, you'll see how much the readings have improved.

When your car is aligned, it's raised from the floor and the wheels are adjusted so they are all moving in the same manner and square with each other. The mechanic looks at different angles of alignment so your tires are able to grip the road as the manufacturer recommends. The wheels are gradually moved until they are in the range recommended by the manufacturer. You might only have the front wheels aligned or you might have all four done.

A routine wheel alignment is often done along with other work that can be carried out with the car on a lift, such as rotating and balancing tires and getting an oil change. Even if you don't need other types of car maintenance done, the mechanic will probably check other areas of the suspension to make sure nothing was damaged because of your wheels being out of alignment.

Once the work is done, your car will handle better and the steering wheel will be centered again. You might notice improved gas mileage and less wear on your tires. You'll also be safer driving and eliminate the risk of car damage by driving with misaligned wheels.

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A Long Drive The next time you climb behind a wheel, think about how amazing it is that your car can drive down the road at 100 miles per hour or more. Granted, you are not going this fast on a regular basis, but even the ability to reach 60 miles per hour is pretty remarkable. The engine, body, wheels, and other components all need to work together to achieve this motion. The more you learn about cars, the more amazed you will be. Check out the articles on this blog, which are compiled by other car enthusiasts. From maintenance to driving tips, you'll find the topics engaging.



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