Do you need a wheel alignment? Whenever we hear the term “wheel alignment”, we often imagine a very complicated procedure with hundreds of moving parts. While the last part is true, the process is not really that complicated.
However, this does not diminish the importance of having a wheel alignment. But before we go further with that one, let’s first discuss what wheel alignment is, what it means for your car, and why you should get it, and how often should you have your wheels aligned.
What is a Wheel Alignment?
The simple answer is that wheel alignment is the process where a mechanic ensures there is a proper alignment of your car’s wheels. In more depth, the process involves adjusting suspension components to bring the wheels into specific angles.
In the past (and in some shops with no computerized alignment tools), this process involves a lot of estimations, creativity, and faith.However, with the introduction of computerized tools, wheel alignments have become pretty standard maintenance work. Normally, wheel alignments cost anywhere between $70-$100 for your regular shop/mechanic. This price can go up to somewhere around $200 for a luxury car in a dealership.
Why Should You Get a Wheel Alignment?
When your wheels are not aligned, you will definitely feel it. Handling feels off and your car might veer off to one side. This can be quite dangerous, especially if you are a new driver. Even expert drivers don’t joke around with misaligned wheels. If you want to be safe on the road, getting your wheel aligned should be a big priority.
Reasons Why Your Wheels Need Alignment
On a daily basis, your wheels and whole suspension system takes a beating. Every bump you hit, pothole you encounter, and every curb you get into contact with affects the suspension system. If you want your car to be in pristine condition, then a wheel alignment should be part of your maintenance checklist.
However, more than giving your car the full service, a wheel alignment is also necessary for the safety of the driver and passengers. An unaligned suspension system can cause problems at the worst times. Imagine driving at 80mph when you feel your steering wheel vibrating abnormally. If you want peace of mind, get a wheel alignment whenever you can.
How Do I Know When I Need My Wheels Aligned?
There are certain signs you need to look out for to know whether your wheels need an alignment. These include the following:
- You feel like your car is veering towards one side. When holding the steering wheel you will feel this slight pull towards the left or right.
- Your steering wheel is off-center. Drive straight and check whether the steering wheel’s 12 o’clock is facing forward. If it’s off center then this means your wheels are misaligned.
- You feel some shaking and pulses on your car’s steering wheel or through the chassis. While this is normal on a rough road, you should be worried when you feel the same shakes under regular road conditions.
- You notice uneven wear on your tire. Check your tires and watch for weird, uneven wear usually on the inside of your tires. This can be noticed on all of your tires or just one. Misalignment causes uneven wear and not the other way around.
How Often Should I Get my Wheels Aligned?
Most mechanics would give you the “at least twice a year” answer and while that is not wrong, it’s not right either. A wheel alignment schedule should be fluid.
If you drive your car under normal conditions (city driving with close to zero bumps) then you can follow a strict wheel alignment schedule. However, if you feel like you give your car the rough road treatment regularly, you might want to put your wheel alignment guy’s phone number on speed dial.
Just remember that there is no set time on how long an alignment will last. As a matter of fact, hitting a large pothole outside the repair shop can undo a lot of the alignment work that was just completed!
Should I Have my Wheels Aligned When I Get New Tires?
It’s not necessary, but it sure doesn’t hurt to get your wheels aligned while you are in the shop – especially when it has been some time since you got your wheels aligned. This is also a good time for you to check your old tires for uneven wear which, depending on what you see, might warrant a wheel alignment.
Do You Need a Wheel Alignment? Call T3 Atlanta!
Don’t know where to go for a wheel alignment? Give T3 Atlanta a call today! Aside from offering a computerized wheel alignment service for Infiniti, Lexus, Nissan, and Toyota, T3 Atlanta also provides a multiple point maintenance check. Contact T3 Atlanta today and let us take good care of your car for you.