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The Importance of Proper Wheel Alignment

Posted December 21, 2018

During the wintertime, the average Colorado driver likely has no idea what kind of obstacles they may encounter on their daily commute much less during a weekend getaway to the mountains, which is why it’s imperative that drivers keep their vehicle’s wheels in-line. As such, wheel alignment is of extreme importance when it comes to how your car handles the road, but a lot of drivers are unfamiliar with exactly what proper alignment encompasses…

Suspension is what connects your vehicle to its wheels and provides a smooth, safe ride over uneven streets. As a result of accidental run-ins with curbs or potholes, parts of your vehicle’s suspension will bend over time. As these parts change shape, your wheels may become misaligned and cause your car to veer to one side or go through your tires very quickly. Your vehicle’s suspension has many adjustable components that allow technicians to adjust the wheel’s angle. When you bring your vehicle in for an alignment, your technician uses special equipment to make sure the wheels are straight and your vehicle is able to react properly to the road.

Camber refers to the angle of the wheel (measured in degrees) when viewed from the front of the vehicle. If two wheels are pointing towards one another, even slightly, then they have a “negative camber”, AKA a “toe-in”. The camber is positive, or “toe-out”, if the top of the wheels are leaning out from the center of the car. Excessive camber angles may not be noticeable when driving, but they can reduce cornering performance and cause tires to wear out unevenly.

Misaligned wheels may cause your tires to “scrub” or skid along the road at odd angles and will decrease their lifespan. Misaligned wheels will also waste fuel because more power is required to turn them. Safety also becomes an issue, as misaligned wheels tend to affect the handling of the car.

To check your alignment, find a straight, flat stretch of road. Your vehicle may be misaligned if it automatically steers to one side. Most streets slope for drainage and usually cause vehicles to pull right. This is normal.

It is generally a good idea to have an alignment performed annually. If you notice that you have to constantly fight the steering wheel to keep your car straight, bring your vehicle into Keller Bros. Auto Repair immediately! One of our ASE-certified technicians will be able to diagnose the problem and offer solutions to fix it. In most cases, a simple alignment is all that is required.

If you have any questions regarding your vehicle’s alignment or anything else pertaining to its health, give us a call at 303-347-1010 – we’re dedicated to keeping you safely on the road year-round!

Categories: Car Care Tips

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