Your car's wheel alignment is very important if you want to get maximum life out of your tires. It's very important to get long life out of every component of your car, not just because of the expense, but also the environmental impact we all cause.
Everyone can contribute to maximizing tire life. A businesswoman looking for maximum efficiency from all her vehicles or a busy mom concerned about the safety and future of her children can help by knowing more about wheel alignment.
The simplest description of wheel alignment is the direction the wheels on your car point . If alignment is out by just a small amount, your tires will wear out faster. Perhaps it will increase wear on other parts, causing further expense.
Misalignment and wrong tire pressure are two main causes of premature tire wear and can adversely affect your car's handling. In some extreme cases, bad wheel alignment can wear out a new set of tires on a short family trip, causing great concern for safety.
Anyone can look for these: signs to be aware of are vibration through the steering wheel, if the vehicle wanders on the road, or if it pulls to one side at highway speeds. Another indicator would unusual wearing of the tire edges. You can check the wearing of your tires each time you walk past them. Just a quick look is all it takes and you can read more about some of the signs to be wary of here
The cause of misalignment could be many things, aggressive cornering, hard braking or simply bumping a curb. All of these things can occur in your daily driving.
The vehicle manufacturer sets wheel alignment specifications and it's more common the front wheels become misaligned- So you might hear the mechanic talking about 'front-end alignment'. A good example of tire wear from misalignment is shown below.
To avoid unnecessary and expensive replacement of your tires, it's important to have the misalignment corrected as soon as possible.
If you continue to drive your vehicle when the wheels are misaligned the tires will wear unevenly, usually on an outer or inner edge. The alignment problem will most likely get worse over time, so you need to take action: Consult your tire dealer about wheel alignment as soon as possible.
Several measurements are checked during the alignment process and it should always be done by a mechanic. The things the mechanic needs to look at are camber, castor and toe.
If you'd like to know more about camber, castor and toe please read part II of wheel alignment.
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