Having a car alignment done improves fuel economy, provides a safer, smoother ride, and extends the life of the tires. As an important vehicle maintenance task, car alignments make sure the wheels are parallel to each other, perpendicular to the road.

Following is everything you need to know about what a car alignment is and whether or not your car needs it.

What is Car Alignment?

A car alignment refers to an adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension – the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. It is not an adjustment of the tires or wheels themselves. The key to proper alignment is adjusting the angles of the tires, which affects how they contact the road. A car alignment is a complex combination of suspension angles that are measured and suspension elements that are adjusted. This makes a car alignment an important suspension-tuning application that significantly influences the operation of the car’s tires.

What Happens When Tires are Out of Alignment?

When tires are misaligned, the car won’t handle as well, traction is reduced, and braking can even be affected. The obvious sign that a car needs an alignment is wear and tear of the tread on the tires and steering problems. You’ll notice that the car pulls to the right or left, and the steering wheel doesn’t center correctly and may vibrate.

What Type of Alignment Do I Need?

The type of alignment you need depends on your vehicle’s suspension. A four-wheel alignment is performed on front-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles with adjustable or independent rear suspensions. If you don’t have an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle, you’ll probably only require front-end alignment.

How Often Should I Have a Car Alignment?

For most cars, there aren’t specific requirements. However, most auto repair shops recommend performing an alignment every 2 or 3 years, or at the first signs of trouble. Car alignments typically need to be performed more often if the vehicle is a sports car, or the wheels are wider than normal. If you frequently drive on rough roads, end up hitting a pothole or rough bump, the vehicle can end up being thrown out of alignment and should be checked out by a qualified technician. It’s also recommended that the car alignment should be inspected every 15,000 miles, even if you don’t notice a problem, to catch issues before they happen.

Driving with car alignment problems costs you money, not only decreasing tire life and gas mileage, but adding unnecessary stress to the car’s steering equipment and framework. Hi-Tech Car Care employs superior quality technicians (ASE certified; Advance Level Master Automobile Technicians), and our shop uses top of the line alignment equipment. We’re also a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop, and we’ve been a AAA Top Shop Award Winner since 2003.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for car alignment service at the first sign of trouble, or during your next oil change to catch problems early on.

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