You can get the most out of your vehicle’s tires through one check: wheel alignments.
Wheel alignments help prevent premature tire wear. Tires can get out of alignment due to several conditions:
- Suspension wear
- Ball joints
- Tie rod ends
- Lower control arms
- Control arm bushings
- Idler arms
- Pittman arms
- Gravel roads
- Speed bumps
- Small animals
- Construction zones
- Driving over ice-covered roads
So, having this service performed on a regular basis helps tires last as long as possible. It also allows them to wear evenly across the tread.
We recommend alignments once a year, when you get new tires, or after suspension work is performed on a vehicle.
Other ways wheel alignments help
Making sure tires last and wear the way they should aren’t the only perks of tire alignments.
Through this process, our mechanics are able to see if your vehicle’s steering capability is accurate and make sure the safety features are in good working order.
Alignments can help improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, as well.
This article we shared talks more about the benefits of this maintenance option.
Signs that you need a wheel alignment
We mentioned before that alignments are needed every year or when certain repairs are done. But a bad wheel alignment may also be revealed through a few symptoms.
The alignment may need to be adjusted if you notice that the steering wheel appears crooked or uncentered. With the electronics on today’s vehicles, there could be a steering wheel sensor reset needed. So, the alignment could be correct, but if the sensor isn’t done correctly (or at all) it could cause the steering wheel to be crooked.
Feeling as though the car is pulling to one sign is another indicator to watch out for. (However, it’s important to note if this is happening regularly or just on certain roads. It could just be how a road or certain section of it is designed.)
Uneven tire wear can also be a sign that you need an alignment. This could be due to the toe and/or camber setting being out of specification. Over a period of time, that can either cause the edges of the tires to wear out or even get a wavy pattern on the tire.
Performing wheel alignments
Most cars nowadays require a four-wheel alignment. Even though most pickup trucks require a two-wheel alignment, it’s a good idea to make sure all the wheels are checked. This will ensure that something isn’t bent.
A qualified technician will be able to see if the castor, camber and toe are within specifications. They would also be able to evaluate if you need to replace any parts, such as ball joints, lower control arms, tie rod ends, and struts.
Once the alignment is complete, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) – like emergency braking, park assist, and lane departure warning – may need to be reset, depending on the vehicle.
We explain more details about the alignment process in this article.
Wheel alignments may seem like another thing to add on your checklist, but this service will be worth the time and investment in the long run.
Other tire services we offer
HomeTowne Auto Repair conducts wheel alignments on all makes and models. But alignments aren’t the only tire-related service offered.
We also perform tire repair (when an injury can be fixed) and tire replacement. Our autoshop sells many tires, including Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal.
Tire rotations are another service available. This is one of the tasks that’s included in the oil change process. Tire mounting and balancing are provided, as well.
HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near convenient Manassas, Virginia. Our service area includes 20112. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.