Get A Wheel Alignment: Your Tires Will Thank You

Maintaining your vehicle's wheel alignment is about more than just safe handling and easy steering. While properly aligned wheels certainly provide these benefits, they also help save you significant amounts of money. This relatively cheap service may be one of the most cost-effective things you can do for your car since it will help maintain your most valuable wear items: your tires. 

Why Do You Need Alignments At All?

As with many routine maintenance tasks, it can feel frustrating to service your car when there's nothing wrong with it. Although changes in your alignment may not always be easy to notice, your car's wheel geometry will inevitably drift out of spec with time. This drift tends to occur as suspension components wear out with age, use, and abuse.

The initial symptoms of poor alignment may be subtle, but they will grow worse over time. Without adjusting your car's alignment angles, you will eventually begin to notice steering drift. In severe cases, it may be challenging to keep your vehicle tracking straight without constant steering input. Allowing your alignment to become this poor can be dangerous, especially if you need to react to an emergency.

If the potential for creating dangerous handling situations isn't enough to sway you, then the impact on your bottom line may be. You may be destroying your potentially costly tires if your alignment is even slightly out of factory specification.

How Does Alignment Affect Tire Wear?

Your wheel alignment determines the angle of your tires as they travel over the road. With proper alignment, your tires touch the road along a narrow strip known as a contact patch. Since your tires rotate as you travel, they should wear relatively evenly. Even wear is essential to get the longest possible life out of your vehicle's rubber.

When your wheels are misaligned, your tires may lean to one side. This lean typically results in excessive wear on the inner or outer edge of the affected tires. Wear along the inner edge of the tire can even lead you to believe that your tires have plenty of tread remaining when, in reality, the inner portion has already worn well below its minimum level.

Uneven wear on your tires can impact your vehicle's handling or even lead to catastrophic failure. If you've recently installed new tires without also performing an alignment, you may be wearing your car's new shoes down much more rapidly than you think. Depending on the severity of the alignment issue, you can easily cut thousands of miles from the lives of your tires.

How can you avoid these problems? Schedule a routine alignment service whenever you install new tires or rotate your existing tires. This small step can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the life of your vehicle. Contact a wheel alignment service for more information.