What is an Alignment?

Have you ever heard someone say “the stars all aligned and everything came together in a positive way”? Astrologists believe this is true, and can make a difference in a person’s life.

Has a service technician ever told you that you need an alignment? The same thing can be said of your vehicle. When it’s aligned properly, it will perform correctly.

What is an alignment?
A wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the vehicle’s wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of alignment is to adjust the wheels in such a way that the vehicle tracks straight and true; this maximizes a tire’s life by allowing it to wear evenly.

A wheel alignment is often confused with a wheel balance. A common misconception is if the car vibrates, it is out of alignment. A wheel alignment and a wheel balance really don’t have anything to do with each other except that both can affect your ride or handling.

What are the most common indicators that I need an alignment?

  1. Uneven tire wear: The way your tread is wearing can tell you a story.
  2. Vehicle pulls to one direction: While this may not be an alignment issue, it certainly warrants a trip to you local shop for a check.
  3. Pot holes and curbs: These can cause alignment problems.
  4. Accidents: Even small fender benders can have a negative effect on your car’s alignment.
  5. Age of vehicle: With age and normal driving comes changes in ride heights, which effect alignment.

When should I get an alignment?
It’s always a good idea to have the alignment checked, as well as suspension parts, when installing new tires. You might also need an alignment if any of the above conditions exist or if your vehicle has been in an accident or has been driven over extremely rough roads.

A properly aligned car will drive better, respond better and operate more efficiently than a vehicle whose alignment is out of specs. Contact your local Best-One Tire& Service dealer today because the cost of an alignment is easily worth the investment.

By Jim Channell, Best-One® Tire & Service Expert Panelist