Wheel alignment refers to the adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension and steering components to ensure that the wheels are pointing in the proper direction and at the correct angle. This process helps to improve the handling of the vehicle and prolong the life of the tires.
Misaligned wheels can cause uneven tire wear, poor fuel economy, and a drifting sensation while driving. Wheel alignment should be checked and corrected as needed, typically every 12,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. Find out 7 Reasons why wheel alignment is necessary for your car !
Why wheel alignment is necessary ?
Wheel alignment is necessary to ensure the proper function and longevity of a vehicle’s tires and suspension components. In fact, regular wheel alignment checks and adjustments can help to prevent these issues and prolong the life of the tires and vehicle components. The top 7 reasons why the wheel alignment is necessary are –
- Uneven tire wear: Misaligned wheels can cause the tires to wear unevenly, which can reduce their lifespan and require them to be replaced more frequently.
- Poor fuel economy: When wheels are misaligned, it can cause the vehicle to work harder to maintain its direction, leading to decreased fuel efficiency.
- Drifting sensation while driving: If the wheels are not properly aligned, it can make the vehicle feel like it is drifting or pulling to one side while driving.
- Vibration in the steering wheel: When wheels are out of alignment, it can cause vibration in the steering wheel, making the ride uncomfortable.
- Reduced handling and stability: Improper alignment can affect the vehicle’s handling and stability, making it more difficult to control and increasing the risk of accidents.
- Steering and suspension damage: Over time, misaligned wheels can cause damage to the steering and suspension components, which can be costly to repair.
- Reduced vehicle safety: Misaligned wheels can affect the vehicle’s handling and stability, which can be dangerous and increase the risk of accidents.
Average Cost and time involved
The cost of a wheel alignment can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the location of the service. On average, you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for a wheel alignment at a standard auto repair shop. Some specialized or high-end shops may charge more.
The time taken for a wheel alignment will also depend on the make and model of the vehicle and the shop performing the service. Typically, a wheel alignment can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Some specialized vehicles or those with complex suspension systems may take longer. It’s best to ask the shop beforehand for an estimate of how long the alignment will take.
Keep in mind that prices and time can vary from shop to shop and location to location, and it’s always a good idea to get a quote from a few different places before making a decision.
Wheel alignment and balancing procedures
Wheel alignment and balancing are two separate procedures, but they are often done together.
The process of wheel alignment involves adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. This is done by adjusting the suspension components, such as the tie-rod ends, control arms, and strut assemblies.
The process of wheel alignment typically starts with a visual inspection of the vehicle’s suspension components to check for any damage or wear. Then the technician will measure the current alignment angles of the wheels and compare them to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. They will then adjust the suspension components as needed to bring the wheels into alignment.
Wheel balancing, on the other hand, is the process of ensuring that the weight of the wheel and tire assembly is evenly distributed. This is done by adding small weights to the wheel to balance it out.
The process of wheel balancing starts with the technician mounting the wheel and tire assembly on a balancing machine. The machine spins the wheel to determine where the heavy spots are and the technician will add small weights to the wheel to balance it out.
Once both wheel alignment and balancing are done, the technician will test-drive the vehicle to ensure that the wheels are properly aligned and balanced and make any necessary adjustments.