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4 Game-Changing Benefits of Wheel Alignment

Published on
June 5, 2024

1 Improved Fuel Efficiency

A proper wheel alignment reduces rolling resistance, allowing your wheels to roll smoothly down the road. When wheels are out of alignment, the tires have to work harder to overcome drag caused by improper contact with the pavement. This rolling resistance forces your engine to burn more fuel just to maintain speed.

The benefits of wheel alignment also ensures optimal drivetrain angles. The transmission, drive shafts, and differentials are all designed to transfer maximum engine power to the wheels. Misalignment causes stress and binding in the drivetrain, making the engine work harder. With everything in proper alignment, all drivetrain components can operate at peak efficiency for maximum fuel economy. 

Getting regular wheel alignments is one of the easiest ways to maximize your vehicle's fuel efficiency. The reduction in rolling resistance and optimized drivetrain angles provide significant fuel savings over time. Drivers can expect 1-3% better fuel economy from a properly aligned vehicle.

2 Enhanced Driving Dynamics

Proper wheel alignment plays a pivotal role in optimizing your vehicle's handling, stability, and steering feel. When the wheels are aligned correctly, the suspension geometry is restored so that the tires make full and even contact with the road. This maximizes traction and allows the tires to grip the road properly during turns, acceleration, and braking. 

With alignment in spec, the steering wheel will be perfectly centered and will not pull to one side. Drivers report a more connected and responsive steering feel. Input at the steering wheel translates immediately into the desired vehicle response. Overall, the vehicle handles corners and curves with less body roll and more composure.

The balanced grip provided by aligned wheels also enhances high speed stability. Your vehicle will track straight and true on the highway without wandering or floating. Recovery from uneven road surfaces or crosswinds is also improved thanks to the tires' full and even contact patch. Proper alignment essentially maximizes the tire contact patch, which is key for responsive handling and control in all conditions.

3 Maximized Tire Life

Proper wheel alignment helps maximize the life of your tires by ensuring even treadwear. When wheels are misaligned, the tread wears unevenly. For example, negative camber (tilted inward wheels) causes excessive wear on the inner edges of the tread. Positive camber (tilted outward) accelerates wear on the outer tread edges. 

With precise alignment adjustments, the camber is set to factory specifications, resulting in an even contact patch across the full width of the tread. This prevents abnormal wear patterns like cupping, feathering, or one-sided wear. The tread depth remains consistent across the tire, maximizing the useful life of your tires.

Regular alignments can easily double the miles you get from a set of tires. By eliminating uneven wear, you'll avoid premature replacement or the need to swap tires between the front and back axles. Overall, proper alignment is one of the best ways to protect your investment in new tires and optimize their longevity.

4 Optimized Safety

Proper wheel alignment helps optimize the safety of your vehicle in several key ways. When wheels are aligned and tracking correctly, it allows your brakes to work evenly and effectively. Braking force needs to be properly distributed across all four wheels in order to slow and stop the vehicle as intended. Misaligned wheels can lead to uneven and unpredictable braking, increasing stopping distances. This makes it difficult to brake safely in emergency situations. 

Additionally, an alignment ensures your tires meet the road evenly while cornering. This greatly reduces the chances of a tire defect or blowout during turns, which could otherwise result in a loss of control. Wheels that are out of alignment place more stress on tires, making them more prone to failures and blowouts, especially at highway speeds. By correcting alignment issues promptly, you lower the risk of catastrophic tire failures that endanger everyone in the vehicle and other motorists.

Overall, the safety optimization provided by a proper wheel alignment should not be underestimated. It’s vital for controlled braking, balanced handling, and preventing tire failures that put you and your passengers at risk. Think of alignment as a safety system, just like seat belts or airbags. Keeping it finely tuned will give you peace of mind every time you head out on the road.

How Can I Diagnose Alignment Issues?

One of the first signs that your vehicle's wheels are out of alignment is the vehicle pulling or wandering to one side instead of traveling straight. This is often accompanied by needing to hold the steering wheel at an off-center angle to keep the car going straight. 

Uneven or rapid tire wear can also indicate alignment problems. If the tires are wearing excessively or unevenly on the inner or outer edges, that's a telltale sign something is off with the alignment angles. Misaligned wheels distribute weight unevenly across the tires, causing them to wear prematurely.

Another symptom is if your steering wheel is off-center while you're driving straight on a flat road. This suggests the front wheels are pointed in slightly different directions and are out of alignment with each other. The steering wheel position compensates for the misalignment in the wheels.

Paying attention to these symptoms - pulling, uneven tire wear, and off-center wheel - makes it easy to identify alignment issues before they lead to bigger problems. Addressing these early warning signs with a professional alignment service can save money on tires and extend the life of your vehicle's suspension.

What Regular Alignment Adjustments are Needed?

Proper wheel alignment requires regular adjustment and maintenance. Most automotive manufacturers recommend getting your wheels realigned at specific mileage or time intervals, which are outlined in your owner's manual. These intervals vary by make and model, but often range from every 6,000-10,000 miles to once a year. 

It's also crucial to get your wheels re-aligned after any major repairs or modifications to your vehicle's suspension system. Events like replacing shocks or struts, installing lowering springs or coilovers, and upgrading sway bars can knock your alignment out of specification. Any substantial suspension work requires a professional alignment afterwards to restore proper geometry and reset alignment sensors.

Some additional times when you'll want to check your alignment include after:

  • Hitting a pothole or road debris
  • A collision requiring body work  
  • Uneven tire wear develops
  • Pulling or drifting begins

Getting your wheels aligned at the recommended intervals ensures you get the maximum benefit from this crucial maintenance procedure. Don't just align as-needed - stay proactive with regular realignments.

Our Alignment Service Advantages

Here at D&R Automotive, our wheel alignment service is performed by trained technicians using specialized equipment to make precise adjustments. The vehicle is driven onto an alignment rack or lift that allows us access to the wheels and suspension components. High-tech alignment machines use sensors and cameras to take measurements of the alignment angles. 

The main angles that require adjustment are:

  • Camber - The inward or outward tilt of the tires from vertical. Camber helps compensate for road irregularities and improves stability.
  • Caster - The forward or backward tilt of the steering axis. Caster helps stabilize steering and affects straight line tracking.
  • Toe - The difference between the front of the tires relative to the rear. Toe helps optimize tire wear and steering response.

After plugging the vehicle information into the alignment machine, the initial measurements are taken. Our technicians will then make precise adjustments by turning the tie rods and pivots until the alignment angles are within the vehicle manufacturer's specifications.

Some modern alignment racks use high-resolution cameras and digital sensors to measure alignment angles down to hundredths of a degree. This precision tuning that we use helps extract every ounce of performance and longevity from your tires and suspension systems.

Once we verify adjustments are complete, final measurements are taken to verify proper alignment. The vehicle is then road tested to confirm it tracks straight and handles properly.

If you feel like you have wheel alignment issues, then get a quote from one of our friendly and knowledgeable staff today, and we'll be happy to discuss your concerns and provide guidance on the best course of action.

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