If you’ve just had your tires replaced, congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of four new tires. But don’t get too complacent—those new tires won’t stay as good-looking and well-performing if you don’t take care of them properly. One of the most important things you can do for your new tires is to align them. Here’s why:
Even a slight misalignment can lead to a loss of traction. Thus, aligning your tires correctly will help your car handle better. Your vehicle will respond more quickly and predictably to steering input, and you’ll be able to take corners with greater confidence. This way, you can navigate the road safely in all weather and driving conditions. Additionally, if you’re driving on winding roads, aligning your tires will also help you maintain control of your vehicle.
Longer Tire Life
Well-aligned tires last longer because they wear evenly instead of developing bald spots or uneven patterns as misaligned tires do. Having your tires aligned will help you get the most out of your new purchase and ensure that you don’t have to replace them sooner than necessary.
Most tires these days are designed to last for around 60,000 miles. However, if you don’t have your alignment checked and corrected when you get new tires, you may find that your tires only last for half that time. That’s because misaligned tires wear unevenly, which causes them to degrade more quickly. Note that tires are a significant investment, so you should do all you can to protect your investment.
Better Fuel Economy
Tires that are aligned correctly have lower rolling resistance and thus consume less fuel and improve gas mileage by 10%. This is good news for your wallet, as it will help you get the most out of each gas tank, decreasing the need to fill up as often and thereby offsetting the expense of alignment over time. Aside from that, you’ll also help save the environment since it reduces your carbon footprint.
Safety is the most important reason to have your tires aligned after replacing them. After all, safety should always be your top priority when driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 35% of road accidents are due to mechanical failure. This is because misaligned tires can cause the car to veer off to one side or the other, making it difficult to control. As a result, it leads to a dangerous situation if you suddenly swerve or do an emergency maneuver. However, having your tires properly aligned can reduce the chance of a tire blowout, as it helps you avoid skidding or losing control of your vehicle.
Follow the Manufacturer’s Warranty Requirements
Many manufacturers require that your tires be aligned to maintain their warranty requirements. They require proof of recent tire alignment as a condition of their treadwear warranties. This is because improper alignment can void certain warranty aspects, such as coverage for premature tire wear. Manufacturers do this to ensure that you’re responsible enough to replace your tires sooner than you would once they were completely worn out to keep your safety on top.
What Are the Signs of Tire Misalignment?
If your vehicle drifts or pulls to one side while driving on a straight, level road, it usually means that the alignment is out of adjustment. You might need an alignment if your vehicle has been in a moderate or severe collision or if you hit a curb, large pothole, or other objects. Even just driving on rough roads can cause misalignment. Here are the following signs that indicate tire misalignments:
- You detect vibrations in the steering wheel, floorboard, or seat.
- The steering wheel is off-center when driving straight ahead.
- You hear squealing or growling noises when turning.
- A sloppy or loose steering wheel.
If you notice any of those signs, your tires should be checked and corrected following the installation of new tires or any time you experience difficulty driving your vehicle. Otherwise, you could incur damages that can cost you even more.
The Different Types of Alignment
There are three main types of alignment that help to ensure that your vehicle is tracking straight and true. These are as follows:
Camber is the positive or negative angle of the tire in relation to the ground, and this angle must be within specifications. Positive camber means that the top of the tire is leaning outwards away from the car. In contrast, negative camber means that the top of the tire is leaning inwards towards the car.
Toe relates to whether the front or back of the tires meets up at the same point when viewed from above. If the front tires point inwards, it’s called “toe-in,” and if the front tires point outwards, it’s called “toe-out.”
The caster is the angle of the pivot point of the steering from vertical when viewed from the side. The pivot point is at the center of the steering linkage, and it’s what the wheels turn around. A positive caster angle means that the pivot point of the steering is angled toward the front of the car. In contrast, a negative caster angle means it’s angled toward the back of the vehicle.
While it’s easy for some motorists to ignore the importance of having their tires aligned following replacement, its repercussions should not be understated. Still, properly aligned tires are essential for your safety since they count the adverse effects of vehicle brakes. Also, checking and adjusting your alignment can save you money on uneven tire wear and provide you peace of mind that your car is driving as smoothly and efficiently as possible.