Adjusting your car’s suspension components to put the wheels and tires into particular angles is called alignment. This operation helps ensure that the vehicle handles, performs, and wears its tires at their optimal performance.
How to Tell a Vehicle Is Out of Alignment
- When you notice that the steering wheel is off-center every time you drive in a straight line, the twelve o’clock position of your steering wheel is either to the left or to the right of the center of your vehicle.
- When you experience pulsing feedback and shaking of the steering wheel or through the chassis (felt through the seat), this feedback happens independent of road conditions or defects in the road surface.
- Observe whether there is uneven wear across the contact patch or tire’s width. Its insides or outsides are wearing down faster. You should note that uneven wear can be restricted to only a handful of tires, or perhaps only one.
- When the vehicle keeps pulling left or right, the car tends to lean to the left or right without steering correction. We don’t recommend practicing this, especially when there are oncoming cars on the road.
The Cost of an Alignment
If you go to a local tire shop or mechanic, you may expect to pay between $75 and $100 for an alignment, although the price might vary greatly depending on where you go. When it comes to expensive cars, the cost of an alignment at a dealership might go up to $200.
The Typical Timeframe for an Alignment Service
This process takes some time, but the norm is about an hour and a half. Shops often recommend making an appointment early, even if it’s considered a walk-in service. If you have to wait in line because the shop only has one alignment rack or system, it will lengthen your visit.
The Duration for Each Alignment Check and Service
Alignment should be performed once or twice a year under typical driving circumstances. If you often hit curbs or drive on extremely bumpy roads, it’s a good idea to get to know your alignment technician by name. After all, they cannot guarantee a vehicle’s alignment for an indefinite period, but constantly sending you updates can give you assurance regarding your car.
Wheel Alignment and New Tires
The installation of new tires is an excellent time to check the vehicle’s alignment. It is essential to align your tires to maintain optimal tire wear and maximum tire life. If the tread on your old, dismounted tires appears to be wearing unevenly, you might consider getting them aligned.
Wheel Balancing and Wheel Alignment
Tire and wheel balance and alignment aren’t the same. The balancing process entails redistributing the weight of the wheel and tire to achieve proper balance. Tiny weights are inserted within the wheel’s barrel to provide a uniform weight distribution.
Some people confuse alignment with balancing because the symptoms of a wheel or tire that are out of balance and the symptoms of a vehicle that is not in alignment are similar. Steering wheel clatter is one common example.
Assessing a Post-Alignment Printout
At the time of an alignment, your business uses the vehicle’s suggested alignment standards as a guide. In the aftermath of an alignment service, a report should be produced detailing the before and after alignment requirements. For example, a service technician can explain why your car was out of alignment before and after the procedure.
Misalignment and Tire Wear
Observe how well the tires are wearing across their contact area. An indication of possible alignment concerns is when the tread wears down faster inside or outside the tires.
You must get an alignment service done to your car to guarantee your safety on the road. Follow up with your alignment technician to get an accurate read on how your alignment works. Regular follow-ups and adjustments are necessary to maintain proper tire wear. If you’re unsure of the quality and standard of work you’re getting, bring your car back into your business for a thorough inspection and discuss other problems you notice.
If you need an auto shop offering wheel alignment services in Calgary, AB, you don’t have to look far. We at Limitless Tires strive to give our clients the highest level of service from an auto maintenance shop. Get in touch with us to see how we can lend a hand today!