Wandering on a straight and level road occurs if your tires are not properly aligned. Constantly moving the steering wheel to keep your car traveling straight ahead can be a hassle. The life of your tires is also in trouble if alignment is not correct. Rapid or uneven tire wear may occur, and you will be forced to endure a bumpy ride. Correct wheel alignment will assure proper handling of your car, eliminate vehicle wandering and increase safety. The cost of getting your wheels aligned can be pricey due to how often it needs to be performed.
Problems If Unaligned
Getting a two-wheel alignment assumes the rear wheels are already aligned with the geometric center line of your vehicle. Getting a two-wheel alignment can save money up front, but your vehicle's handling and tire tread life will be compromised. It's recommended to get a four-wheel alignment to assure the stability of your vehicle and to minimize further problems.
Ways to Become Unaligned
Simply hitting a curb or running over a pothole can cause your wheels to become unaligned. Rough roads, like gravel roads, can cause your wheels to become misaligned. Simple driving mistakes, such as brushing a curb, are also factors that also affect wheel alignment.
Proper alignment will allow you to navigate your vehicle with ease and safety. Your tires will have a longer life. In addition, proper wheel alignment provides safe, predictable vehicle control as well as a smooth and comfortable ride that's free of pulling and vibration. Gas mileage increases as rolling resistance decreases. Complete alignment sets all four wheels parallel, which, along with proper inflation, minimizes rolling resistance.
Check each tire for uneven wear patterns, which may be indicative of misalignment. The problem with this method, however, is that if you can see a wear pattern it may be too late to save that tire, which is why it is necessary to check alignment periodically.
A four-wheel alignment can cost also cost anywhere from $50 to $95 based on the local cost of living. Wheel alignment should be done approximately every 10,000 miles or once a year. For some, this could be difficult to pay the price mentioned above this often. Improper alignment will eventually cause problems with your tires. According to "Consumer Reports" and all-season tire can cost $35 to $80, ultra-high-performance tires can cost $90 to $160 and tires for SUVs and pickups can cost $55 to $125. Replacing an entire set of tires can be expensive.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Saquan Stimpson
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