Answering a Few Important Questions About Vehicle Alignment

Posted on: 8 June 2017

The alignment of the wheels of any vehicle is very important, and not something to overlook when it comes to needed repairs and regular maintenance. Tyres are the only part of that vehicle that actually makes contact with the road, so how they're aligned and how they grip the pavement is important for your safety, and for proper handling of the vehicle. Note a few questions you might have about a vehicle's alignment, and then discuss these with your mechanic if you think your vehicle's tyres and steering system might need some attention.

Why is an alignment important for the vehicle?

You may realize that improperly aligned tyres can cause them to pull or skid, making it difficult to control the car. However, a poor alignment is also dangerous for the vehicle. When your car or truck pulls in any direction, this puts undue stress on all the components of the steering and transmission; parts like the axle, tie rods, struts, and shocks all suffer unnecessary wear and tear as they fight being pulled in one direction or another. The brakes may also get worn unevenly, as they can't grip the tyres properly if these are out of alignment. This is why you need to ensure your truck wheel alignment is properly done, even if you can control the car.

What warning is there that the vehicle is out of alignment?

There typically is not a dashboard light or other such warning to tell you that your vehicle's tyres are out of alignment. How your car handles is often the first and best indicator that it needs an alignment. Also, it's good to inspect the tyres regularly and look for uneven wear to the tread, as this may indicate that they are not properly aligned. Skidding and sliding when braking may also indicate misalignment.

The tyres are new and the vehicle is in good repair; why does it suddenly need an alignment?

Any type of impact to a wheel can put the tyres out of alignment. Also, if the vehicle is unevenly weighted, such as when hauling sporting goods on one side of the roof or towing a trailer with more weight on one side, this can also cause a misalignment.

Note, too, that the rubber of one tyre may wear aware more quickly than the others, even if the tyres are new. This imbalance can cause a misalignment. Having the tyres and vehicle checked for a needed alignment and balancing every year, or as often as recommended by your mechanic, can ensure the vehicle is always properly aligned.