What are the signs your wheels need an alignment?
What is a wheel alignment service?
During a wheel alignment service, your car’s suspension system is adjusted. This is the system that connects your car to its wheels. Keep in mind that, despite the name, this service does not refer to the adjustment of your wheels and tyres themselves.
When your wheels are aligned in a tyre shop, the technicians are making sure your vehicle’s wheels are close to perpendicular to the ground and parallel with the car by adjusting the vehicle’s suspension (the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels).
For the best driving experience, make sure your car’s wheels are aligned. Tyres can be expensive and, if they are misaligned, they won’t last nearly as long. Misalignment will lead to uneven tyre wear and potentially poor handling.
Understanding wheel alignments
Depending on the type of your car, a wheel alignment service can be performed on your front wheels or all four wheels. There are some measurements to take into account when aligning your car’s wheels, but the most important ones are:
- Caster angle. This is the angle that the front tyre rotates around when it is steered side-to-side in relation to the vertical position. It is only carried out on a car's front suspension. Although it cannot be seen, it needs to be measured using the right alignment tools.
- Camber angle. This is a side-to-side tilt of the wheels that you can see when looking at some cars. A tyre that leans in towards the car has negative camber, while a wheel that leans outwards is positive camber.
- Toe angle. This is the most common measurement when needing an alignment adjustment. Toe is the angle of the wheels in or out when viewed from above the vehicle. Toe angles can be set on the front and rear of most vehicles, and it’s typically set near zero or straight ahead.
When should you book a wheel alignment service?
We recommend you have a wheel alignment whenever you need new tyres fitted or every 6 months. Vehicle manufacturers would also recommend that you have your wheels adjusted every year at a minimum.
If ever your car feels as though it is pulling to one side when driving, or your tyres are unevenly or excessively worn, it’s worth booking a wheel alignment.
Wheels and tyres can become misaligned by simply hitting potholes, bumps, curbs, driving along rough or uneven surfaces, or through normal wear and tear from daily driving.
If left alone, not only will it affect your car's handling, but it could also reduce the life of your tyres. Poor alignment of the wheels can result in uneven and premature tyre wear, leading to poor fuel economy and unnecessary wear on the car's steering and suspension components.
Symptoms you may need a wheel alignment
Regardless of the recommended service interval for your vehicle, there are some noticeable symptoms you should be aware of that will tell you your car’s wheels are in need of an alignment service. Some signs that you should be aware of, include:
- You ‘feel’ your vehicle is suddenly working differently than it used to when driving on the road.
- The steering wheel is no longer straight.
- When driving, you may feel your vehicle pulling to one side.
- If you run into a curb while parking.
- Hitting a pothole can potentially damage your car’s suspension system or knock your vehicle out of alignment, requiring an inspection.
- If you frequently drive on poorly maintained roads, your suspension may need more routine alignments.
- When you start hearing noises in your vehicle. If you hear knocking, creaking, rubbing or squeaking, this is usually a sign of suspension or steering issues.
Wheel alignment services in Sunshine
Get the most out of your tyres and ensure your vehicle is in good operating order with a wheel alignment at Tyres R Us.
Alignment faults can be quite minor and go overlooked for a long time, causing unnecessary wear and tear to various components of your vehicle, including the tyres, suspension components, wheel bearings and more.
Our alignment machines and instruments are specifically designed to detect these little differences and ensure your vehicle is aligned to your manufacturer's specifications.
For further assistance with having your wheels aligned, come to Tyres R Us, located in Sunshine, or simply call 03 9362 1611 and one of our expert team members will help you with your queries.