Check Wheel Alignment to Avoid Costly Tire Replacement
When your car pulls violently to one side or the other every time you step on the gas, it’s time to Google “Wheel Alignment Near Me.” Or, just come on down to Mastertech, and we can have you safely back on the road again in no time. The problem you’re facing is wheel alignment. And, if ignored it could make driving your car unsafe and cost you a new set of tires long before you expected.
Early signs of poorly aligned wheels can be subtle. It is best to catch the problem before it becomes worse and makes driving potentially unsafe. Here is a short list of indicators that your wheels need an alignment.
Signs of Poor Alignment
Vehicle Pulls to One Side
Steering Wheel Off Center When Driving Straight
Uneven Tire Wear
Unusual Noise When Turning
Steering Wheel Vibration
Louder than Normal Road Noise
If you notice any of these issues with your car, have the alignment checked as soon as possible. Waiting means running the risk of having the problem grow and will let you avoid unnecessary wear on your tires.
Causes of Bad Wheel Alignment
Alignment problems sometimes seem like they come out of nowhere. One day your car is fine and the next you are sawing the steering wheel back and forth trying to keep it between the lines. Most likely, you just did not notice the issue until it became too big to ignore. The cause of your problem is most likely one of these three occurrences.
Cumulative Wear on Suspension and Steering Components
When a good shop aligns your wheels, they will also check for any damage to the suspension or steering components to make sure whatever brought you in doesn’t happen again.
How Alignment is Measured: Camber, Toe, and Caster
At MasterTech, we perform a computerized alignment check which evaluates the following factors against the factory recommendations for your vehicle.
Camber: If you look at your car from the front you can sometimes notice an inward or outward tilt of the tires. This is called positive or negative camber. Camber issues often are the result of worn bearings or ball joints.
Toe: Toe is the measurement describing the angle of your tires. With the steering wheel straight, both front tires should be pointed directly ahead. Any variation is a problem with the toe.
Caster: A bit more complicated, caster refers to the angle of your steering axis and can either be positive or negative. Every vehicle has a recommended caster to help with cornering, ride stability, and general steering.
All three of these factors contribute to alignment issues differently, and all three should be checked when wheel alignment is performed on your car.
Types of Alignment
Many people think that because only the front tires turn, they are the only wheels which need an alignment. This ignores the fact that all four tires guide you down the road, and all should be adjusted properly, if possible, to operate safely, maximize fuel efficiency, and eliminate unnecessary wear on your tires.
Front End Alignment
A front end alignment adjusts the angles of the front two wheels only. Many vehicles do not have adjustable rear wheels, making a four wheel alignment unnecessary. Still, the technician should be checking that the rear wheels line up with the front wheels when performing any adjustment, including a front end only service.
4 Wheel Alignment
For vehicles with four-wheel independent suspension, all four wheels should be aligned during service. So should any front wheel drive car with adjustable rear wheels. When all four wheels are making contact with the road at the proper angles, your car handles better and drives more smoothly. This is especially important for four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars.
Rear Wheel Alignment
Many cars have complicated suspensions made up of control arms and bushings for the rear wheels, making rear adjustment necessary at times. For these vehicles, rear wheel alignment is definitely a necessity.
Tire Balancing May Reduce Tire Wear
Tire balancing is another way to improve the way your vehicle drives. Once a tire is mounted on a wheel, it must be balanced to ensure the entire wheel rotates evenly. A computerized balancing machine spins your tire and determines how much weight to add to take out any wobble. Occasionally these weights come detached while driving and are lost. If this happens, stop in, and we will get you balanced in no time.
Wheel Alignment Cost
We are proud to offer alignments at a very reasonable price. At MasterTech, alignment for most vehicles is only $59.95. And, we will check to see if you need this service for free. If we align your vehicle, you receive a computerized printout explaining exactly where your car differed from the factory specifications and what we did to fix the issue. When you drive away after a MasterTech alignment, the ride will be as smooth as the day your car left the assembly line.
Stop by today to check your alignment and see if you need this service. Or, ask about wheel alignment the next time you stop in for one of our premium oil changes. With ASE certified technicians and affordable prices, MasterTech is the best place to take your car if you’re worried about keeping the rubber on the road.