Having trouble in keeping your car straight on road? Your Tires Likely Need an Alignment.
Help your vehicle’s tires last longer and perform properly by keeping in mind the symptoms of bad alignment of tires.
Are you having trouble keeping your vehicle straight on the road? Does your vehicle need alignment? Alignment is a very important term in auto parts dictionary. This is because a tire or wheel alignment not only keeps your vehicle in one direction but also improves its handling and prevents unusual vibrations.
Wheel Alignment of car means adjusting vehicle’s suspension system that connects vehicles to its wheels. Vehicle’s alignment plays a pivotal role in vehicle’s performance. It saves tires from premature tire wear and your money. Safety is one of the critical aspects of driving. If the vehicle is pulling to one direction either left or right, this could not only create risk for you but also the driver behind you. As the car’s performance increases with perfectly aligned wheels, your comfort also increases.
In this article, we shall read about causes of misalignment of your car. It’s better to notice the problem in its initial stage rather rushing to the mechanic when things go out of hands.
What are Symptoms of your car being out of alignment and some tips to prevent them?
Proper wheel or tire alignment requires manufacturer recommended tools and equipments to be used for best performance. Have a glance at some symptoms of misalignment.
Uneven tire wear
Tire alignment refers to vehicle’s steering and suspension components that controls the motion of wheels. Improper tire alignment can cause the tire to wear prematurely. Various tread wear patterns of car's tires can be noticed in this situation.
Excessive positive or negative toe can cause the tread blocks to feel like a saw teeth when you touch them. Misalignment also causes one side of the tire to wear faster than the other side.
Also, don’t forget that tires and wheels are made within certain degree of tolerance that include run out and radial force variation. Any fluctuation in the tolerance can cause your vehicle’s steering to pull. In this condition, to cancel the pull you can move the worst tire to a non steering axle for the time being. But it is a temporary solution, as the pull could return during next rotation.
Some balancers can be installed to cancel the effect of steering pull on your vehicle and assign the correct position to it.
Under the situations of unusual wear patterns and premature tread wear, get the wheel alignment checked by a professional mechanic.
Under inflated tires
Most alignment problems occur with tires and wheel so it is to be noted that tires are not perfect! Tires and wheels should be of proper size and fitting. Tire pressure is a very important factor. It not only increases the rate of tire wear but also increases the possibility of car needing an alignment. Alignment service depends upon size of tire gravely, if they do not match, then alignment service is just impossible. The car will pull towards the side with wide or small tire.
So before getting alignment service performed, it is wise to check the tire size and pressure and consider manufacturer’s recommended specifications if any change is needed regarding both factors.
Worn out Steering and Suspension Components
There are some pre checkups that should be performed before getting your car aligned. They are essential because, alignment changes if there are some parts are not detected beforehand. One of those important components is steering and suspension system.
You must inspect steering components like ball joints, tie rods, steering arms for traces of wear and excessive movement. Refer to the owner’s manual or get these auto parts replaced according to manufacturer specifications for better alignment. You can also shop for good quality car's upper and lower Ball joints, automotive tie rod ends and other steering components at Parts Avatar.
Car’s alignment can be affected by leaky struts, missing and cracked suspension rubber bushings. Partsvatar also offers suspension replacement parts and car's suspension struts at cheap prices. A worn suspension spring affects vehicle’s ride height severely. So check the springs and height along with steering and suspension parts. It is to be strictly noted that every replacement should be done according to manufacturer’s specifications.
Vehicle pulling to one side
Camber, caster and automotive toe are the three main matters of concern for the mechanic when he proceeds to check the alignment. There are certain things that you need to know about camber, caster to get perfect alignment for your car.
When viewed from the front of your car, it is outward or inward angle of a tire. Tilting too much inward and tilting too much in outward direction is called negative and positive camber respectively. car's Camber angles should be properly inclined according to manufacturer specifications. Worn out steering and suspension auto parts may contribute to camber misalignment. So camber adjustment must be checked before proceeding further.
The job of caster is to adjust the steering, cornering and balancing stability of the vehicle. Caster angle of car is the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your car. Positive caster means steering axis will tilt towards the driver and negative caster means steering axis will tilt towards the front of your car.
Caster is only set on the front suspension of your car. Most cars prefer positive caster manner for better steering and stability of vehicle at high speeds.
As read above toe is also an important part of alignment. It tells the extent to which tire turn inwards or outwards when viewed from above. Toe wear could indicate underinflated tires or lack of rotation.
Overall vehicle’s performance is gravely affected by misalignment. So, it is important to understand the wear pattern, steering axis and tilt angle for to analyze alignment issues with your vehicle. You can also take help of some camber/caster tools of car and automotive camber/caster alignment kits available at aftermarket. If you are unable to observe the angle and axis then you may take help of a professional.
Vibrating Vehicle and Strange noises
Unbalanced tires, warped brake rotors, worn out suspension parts and wrong caster angle of your vehicle can cause the vehicle to vibrate.
Noises are very helpful in detecting a problem. Same happens in misalignment situation. Strange noises like creaking, knocking or squeaking may indicate loose or worn out suspension and steering components. It is better to check and replace car's steering and suspension components that are causing your car to go out of alignment.
Replacing tires is quite expensive. To prevent frequent tire wear and other steering and suspension damage, it is important to always be aware and get your tires and wheels aligned 5000 miles to maximize their life along with your car’s performance and your safety.
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