Misaligned tires can make it challenging to drive straight and cause your car to veer off course. Maintaining your vehicle in good condition is crucial for your driving safety, and one way to do this is by regularly aligning your tires. This blog will provide in-depth reasons for proper tire alignment since many people need to learn how to perform it or why it’s essential.
What is Tire Alignment, and Why is it Important?
Tire alignment adjusts the angles of your car’s suspension components to provide consistent contact with your tires. Improper alignment forces more weight on certain areas of your tires, putting additional strain on its structure and resulting in uneven wear. If left unchecked, it can cause premature tire failure and dangerous handling issues by interfering with how you direct the vehicle on the road.
Proper alignment is crucial to maintaining good tire health, achieving maximum mileage, and helping your car perform optimally while navigating roads. Regularly aligning your tires is an essential safety measure that guarantees your safety while driving.
Signs that Your Tires Need Alignment
Inconsistent or Excessive Tire Wear
Uneven tire wear may occur due to several factors, such as curbs, potholes, or road debris. It can also be caused by an imbalance in your car’s suspension system. Poor alignment causes excessive wear on your tires, reduces traction, and causes vehicle handling issues.
Loud scraping, whining, or rattling noises from your car’s wheels indicate that some parts that keep your wheels straight are out of order. Any misaligned steering system component may cause it to rub against other parts, causing noise.
Vibrations While Driving
Vibrations from your steering wheel when driving could indicate misaligned tires. The degree of vibration can depend on the severity of the misalignment, but it should be addressed as it could lead to other problems.
Crooked Steering Wheel
A crooked steering wheel and pulling to one side while driving can indicate that your tires need alignment. Poorly aligned tires cause the wheels to sit in an unnatural position, causing premature wear on the tires, particularly along the edges.
How to Align Your Tires at Home?
Aligning your tires at home is a convenient and cost-effective way to ensure your vehicle remains in top condition and saves you valuable time. With the right tools, it’s surprisingly easy.
Sizing and Cross-Weighting: Double-check that all four tires are the same size in diameter and width using a tape measure. Cross-weighting, where equal weight on each axle keeps the car sitting straight while driving, should be considered.
String Technique for Measuring Toe: Fasten one end of a string to both front wheels and measure how far apart they are by letting the other end hang down. Determine the gap between them and measure anywhere from inside to outside to determine the degree of misalignment or “toe.”
- Use a camber tool to measure the angles of your wheels relative to the ground.
- Ensure your tires are perpendicular, improving fuel efficiency, wear, and performance.
- Use locking tab washers and tightening devices to position the wheels correctly and test them again with the camber tool.
Setting the Bump Steer:
- Adjust the angle of the front wheels so that they are level with each other when viewed from above.
- Use a ruler to measure two lines drawn perpendicular to each wheel’s steering center point.
- Rotate the tie rods until both of these lines are parallel to each other to guarantee a smoother ride in the future.
Cost of Tire Alignment
The tire alignment cost can vary depending on the number of wheels and the shop you choose. For two wheels, the cost ranges from $50 to $75; for four, it ranges from $100 to $168. It’s essential to compare rates across various mechanics before making a decision.
Benefits of Tire Alignment
Regular tire alignment offers several benefits that make it worth the investment. Some of these include:
- Durable tires: Proper tire alignment helps to avoid abnormal wear and tear caused by misalignment, which can extend the life of your tires.
- Comfortable ride: When your tires are properly aligned, they ensure even and safe contact with the road surface, resulting in a more comfortable driving experience.
- Fuel efficiency: Properly aligned tires can help your car run more efficiently, improving gas mileage by up to 7% and saving you money in the long run.
Tire alignment is a crucial part of vehicle maintenance. It helps prolong your tires’ life, improve fuel efficiency, and ensure a comfortable driving experience. If you need help with properly aligning your tires, we suggest seeking assistance from a car expert. They have all the necessary tools and machinery to complete the task quickly and effectively. Be sure to get your tire alignment done regularly to keep your car running at its best.