Everyone who owns a car has heard about the importance of wheel
alignment and wheel balance, but a lot of people don’t know why it is actually important. Below we’ll go through some of the most common questions about wheel alignment and wheel balance so you’ll never be left scratching your head again.
How often should I have my wheels aligned?Similar to most car maintenance subjects, there is no absolute answer to this question. There are a lot of factors to be considered, including how frequently you drive your vehicle, the overall quality of the roads you drive on, and the quality of your tires. A general rule of thumb is to have your wheel alignment and wheel balance checked every 12,000-15,000 miles or once a year. Doing so will help you cut down on costly repairs, and fuel wastage. It will also help ensure safe and smooth operation of your vehicle.
Why is it important to have proper wheel alignment and wheel balance?It is always important to keep your car running in peak condition; this will ensure not only the longevity of your vehicle’s lifespan, but also the overall safety of you and your passengers. Improper wheel alignment and wheel balance will cause three major problems on your car – irregular tire wear, handling problems, and a crooked steering wheel. All of which can and will lead to high out of pocket costs for you, and detrimental wear on your vehicle.
What causes wheel alignment and wheel balance to change on cars?Extended driving over poorly maintained roads is a big contributor to a vehicle’s change in wheel alignment and balance. Obviously you have no control over the state of your local roads, but driving with an extra bit of caution on such roads can go a long way. Joints in the suspension system will wear gradually, making it difficult to hold your car’s alignment in place. These changes are slow, but regular car check-ups will help keep this small problem from becoming a big one.
When will I know it’s time to fix my car’s wheel alignment and wheel balance?There are a few helpful tips that will let you know when it’s time to come see us to have your vehicle’s wheel alignment and wheel balance fixed. Visually inspect your tires monthly. If you notice an excessive amount of wear on the inside or the outside edge of the tires then it is likely that your wheel alignment is askew. If you notice an unusual pull to one side or the other when driving that is a tell tale sign of improper wheel alignment as well. If your steering wheel is noticeably crooked then it is also a good time to come in and have us take a look.
Excessive vibration in your steering wheel is an indication of poor wheel balance. Tires and wheels inherently have some imperfections so in order to ensure that they are evenly balanced for a smooth ride, most tire shops use tire balancing equipment that tells the tire technician of where the imperfections may lie. The technician then adds wheel weights to the tire and wheel assembly in order to correct the problem.
It is our recommendation, along with several other reputable
sources that you get your tires aligned at the time of new tire purchase. We hope these answers were helpful and gave you some useful insight into wheel alignment and wheel balance. Remember, if you have any questions or would like our experts to take a look under the hood, schedule an appointment today at one of our 11 VA Tire and Auto locations located across Northern Virginia.