Understanding wheel alignment and its importance
One of the most important procedures conducted during log book servicing by companies like Bridgestone Select is wheel alignment. While mechanics and manufacturers may insist on its importance, some car owners may still not understand what it is or why it important.
So what is it?
Wheel alignment basically involves adjusting the angles of your car wheels so that they are exactly perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. You can usually tell that your car needs to have its wheel alignment adjusted by how it handles when you are driving. For instance, the car may pull more to left or right when going down a straight, flat road, signalling the need for a wheel alignment adjustment. Alternatively, your tyres may be wearing out unevenly or abnormally suggesting a problem with your alignment.
Along with these indicators, there are occurrences that warrant a mandatory check on your wheel alignment. These include the following:
- Replacing suspension components
- Buying a new set of tyres
- Hitting something, e.g. a pavement
These could put your wheels out of alignment and so it is recommended that you have it checked immediately.
Why is it important?
When you don't have proper control over your car, there is an increased risk of an accident occurring. With misaligned wheels, the car pulls to the right or left, and at a corner, it takes quite some effort on your part to get the car back on track. On a wet or icy road, this can greatly increase the risk of having an accident, which can easily be avoided by having the wheel alignment adjusted.
Misaligned wheels create uneven pressure on the tyres, which in turn creates uneven friction and more resistance from the road surface when driving. This means your car will need more energy to move forward thereby using more fuel. However, aligning your wheels properly will mean that you will save quite a bit on fuel use.
The pressure exerted on the tyres by misalignment results will mean that you will have to get new tyres even though they are not all equally worn out. You may find some tires balding on one side because of the pressure and resistance from the road surface, which will require them to be replaced.
The uneven pressure on the tyres means that they will wear out unevenly and since it is dangerous for you to drive on uneven tyres, you will have to replace them sooner than was indicated on the warranty of the tire. It is cheaper to have your wheel alignment adjusted than it is to replace a whole set of tyres, so wheel alignment is important.