Some things come to mind first when you take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for service. One of them is getting an oil change; another is checking the battery and tire pressure. However, when exiting a parking space, you may have clipped the curb with your car’s wheels, hit a pothole, or driven too quickly through road bumps. These have an impact on the suspension system and are the primary causes of incorrect wheel alignment. Feeling tension in the steering wheel is one of the telltale signs that your car has alignment issues.
Some people believe that automobiles retain proper wheel alignment from the factory. This means that most car owners will ignore alignment issues in their vehicles. However, according to the owner’s manual, manufacturers recommend wheel alignment during vehicle service.
What Does Wheel Alignment Accomplish?
The geometry of the suspension system and the wheel working together correctly is referred to as wheel alignment. Several suspension components work together to propel the vehicle forward and ensure proper turning. The suspension system consists of:
- Control arms
- Ball joints
- Shock absorbers
- Steering components
- Tie rod ends
Although alignment is primarily concerned with the front wheels of a vehicle, the procedure affects both the front and rear wheels. There is less tire wear when all four wheels work together and rotate in tandem. If you had alignment issues, the vehicle is easier to control after the adjustments.
Problems with Bad Wheel Alignment
A car is a complex machine with many moving parts that all work together in unison. Wheels that are out of alignment will cause problems with various parts of the suspension system.
It is difficult to maintain a straight line when driving with poor alignment. When the wheel alignment is off, the wheels tilt, affecting the vehicle’s steering axis. When the steering wheel is in neutral, the vehicle’s tires will not face forward. Instead, the car tires turn in an unnatural manner, ensuring a bumpy ride. As a result, the tires will experience excessive wear over time.
Here are a few symptoms of bad wheel alignment in a vehicle:
Poor car control
If your wheels are not properly aligned, you will notice because it is more difficult to drive straight. Take your car for a test drive in a flat parking lot and watch how the steering reacts.
The steering wheel vibrates
Improper alignment frequently results in a vibrating steering wheel at high speeds. It is caused by the tires constantly slipping to adjust to the vehicle’s speed. It could result in a flat tire or a tire blowout.
Uneven tire wear
Tires are supposed to last a long time in a car, but if the car is misaligned, the tires wear out quickly and unevenly. You will notice that the wear patterns are at an odd angle, or that one tire wears out faster than the other. You may notice that the tire wear is inward or outward.
Benefits of Correct Wheel Alignment
Now that we’ve established the dangers of poor wheel alignment, let’s look at the advantages of proper wheel alignment. When you properly align your vehicle’s suspension, there are numerous advantages to the way it operates. Proper alignment often goes unnoticed because when the car is running smoothly, you don’t notice it.
Here are some things you can check to see if your vehicle has the correct alignment.
When a vehicle’s tires are misaligned, they usually drag, reducing gas mileage by nearly 10%. By adjusting the suspension, you will save money on gas because the vehicle will move more smoothly. Your vehicle’s tires will also last longer.
Wheel alignment ensures that your vehicle does not lean to one side when you drive. When misaligned, the car pulls to one side, causing one tire to wear at an angle.
How to Fix Alignment on a Car
A vehicle’s suspension parts alignment is adjusted in several ways to ensure that it performs optimally. Let’s go over them and some of their key features, such as camber and toe.
Even when the road is uneven, the slight deviation of the front-facing aspect of tires allows a car to travel straight. Excessive toe in or out caused by a worn-out tie rod will degrade the vehicle’s performance. It has an effect on tire life and fuel consumption because the tires drag instead of rolling. The balance between minor deviations and direct front-facing tires is what defines proper toe.
It refers to how far the tires are tilted toward or away from the center of the vehicle. This is not visible when viewing the vehicle from the side, but only when viewing it from the front or rear at an angle. The braking and acceleration are at their maximum when the vertical angle of the tires is zero degrees of camber. However, slight negative camber, or an inward tilt of the tires at the top, improves handling, particularly at high speeds. When the negative or positive camber is excessive, the load on the tire’s edges causes wear.
Caster is the difference between the point of contact and the pivot in the front-end tires. It is a very important aspect of front-wheel-drive cars. Manufacturers use caster settings to balance the car’s high-speed stability, front-end cornering effectiveness, and steering effort. When the line slopes towards the back of the car and the steering axis tilt towards the front, the car has a positive caster.
Get the Best Vehicle Alignment Expert in Ohio
Are you a resident of Conneaut, Ohio? Have you noticed any negative effects from poor wheel alignment on your vehicle? Or have you had your car’s alignment checked in a while? Lake Erie Auto is ready to assist you.
Even when your wheel alignment and suspension are way off, we can restore your car to optimum performance as quickly as possible. For extraordinary customer and car service, call us at (440) 597-3444 or text us at 1.833.474.5173.