Home / Auto News / News article: Does my Car Need a Wheel Alignment? - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Oct 04 2013, 3:00 PM

hawkeye_elite_lg-alignmentIf your car feels shaky and the steering wheel is vibrating, it may need a wheel alignment. An alignment is an important part of vehicle maintenance that will save you money in the long run.

WHAT IS A WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

An alignment involves adjusting three main angles of your tires to ensure the car is tracking straight, or driving where you point the steering wheel. Over time, your car’s suspension endures enough abuse from the road to shuffle and jostle things out of their original position.

Given enough time on the road, this happens to every car. Add other mishaps like bumping into a curb or driving over a speed bump too quickly and your suspension and steering can be rendered unsafe.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CAR NEEDS AN ALIGNMENT

If your steering wheel is off center but the car is driving straight, it’s probably time for an alignment. Alternatively, you can probably draw the same conclusion if the steering wheel is centered, but the car isn’t driving straight.

Finally, it’s time to seriously consider an alignment if the car wanders from side to side on the road.

WHY GET AN ALIGNMENT?

tires

If your alignment isn’t correct, the car will react differently to than the manufacturer intended and the more time you drive your misaligned vehicle, the more damage you’ll do to the suspension and steering components.

Additionally, the lifespan of your tires can suffer drastically from poor alignment. Tires are designed with the idea that a specific part will make contact with the road. A misaligned car will put them at an incorrect angle, meaning that the right part of the tire isn’t making contact with the road. Your tires will wear unevenly or wear out sooner than they should, which means you’ll have to replace them more frequently.

SAVE TIRES, SAVE FUEL

Fuel economy is another major reason to get your alignment checked. In addition to forcing more frequent tire purchases, the improper way the tire rolls on the road will create more resistance, forcing your car to work harder, using more fuel.

Getting your alignment checked is an excellent way to ensure your safety and proper operation of your car. Spending a little bit to get your alignment fixed will save you money on tires and fuel in the future. Costing about $80 to $100, an alignment is good money spent for safety, fuel savings and peace of mind.