What is a tire/wheel alignment?
While it’s often referred to simply as an “alignment” or “wheel alignment,” this type of automotive service is deceptively complex. It requires angles to be measured, adjusted, and a variety of suspension components to be evaluated. This makes an alignment an important suspension-tuning tool that impacts the operation of the vehicle’s tires.
An accurate wheel alignment is vital to the performance of a vehicle’s tire and the longevity of its tread. Regular wheel alignments can save you money by increasing the life of your tires, and should be considered routine, preventative maintenance.
You may begin to notice alignment issues when the suspension and steering stop operating at their desired angles. Your steering wheel may be off to one direction to the left or right and you may begin to feel your car “pulling” in a certain direction, even while you’re driving straight. Out-of-alignment conditions are most often caused by inner component wear and tear, within an older vehicle. Alignment issues can also be the result of an impact with a pothole or curb, regardless of vehicle age.
If your alignment is off, it usually results in increased tire wear. Therefore, alignment should be checked whenever new tires or suspension components are installed, and any time unusual tire wear patterns appear. Your wheel alignment should also be checked following any major road hazard.
Recommendation for Your Wheel Alignment
Don’t neglect the importance of the pre-alignment inspection. When having your vehicle serviced, a pre-alignment inspection can go a long way. Make sure to adjust your tire inflation accordingly. Tires with low air pressure can affect the way your vehicle runs. Even the most precisely aligned suspension can still pull the vehicle to one side or the other if the tire pressures is not even.
In order for some stability control systems to function, the steering position sensor must be recalibrated after the toe or thrust angle is changed. Some vehicles require that the recalibration be performed through special ports. A diagnostic tool can be used to perform vehicle specific calibrations.
Many of today’s alignment machines are equipped with printouts that compare the “before” and “after” alignment angles with the manufacturers’ specifications. Requesting a post alignment printout can help you confirm the alignment was done correctly, and preserve a record of your vehicle’s intended settings.
Orange County & Newport Beach Automotive Services
At Saddleback Automotive Service Center, we strive to provide you with an alternative to going to the dealership, by providing you and your vehicle with excellent service, and the best quality repairs.
We are continually updating and upgrading all of our diagnostic equipment in order to serve our clients confidently, knowing that despite all the changes in technology, we are prepared for any automotive challenges that come our way.
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