Do Wheel Alignments Help With Driving

Wheel alignment is a very important part of your car, truck or SUV maintenance here in Johnson City Tn.  There are different reasons to get your car aligned. From a pull to tire wear or just regular maintenance it is important to protect  the big investment you have in your tires. If you have your car in for other auto repairs or an oil change we can check for a two or four wheel alignment.

Why Wheel Alignments Make Safer Driving

Simply put, a wheel alignment corrects the angles of your vehicles tires so they connect with the road properly. If your vehicle is pulling to the left or right, maybe your tires are wearing faster (on the inside, outside or in the middle); your tires are squealing or, when driving straight your steering wheel is crooked, then it’s time to get a wheel alignment. When your car has the correct wheel alignment, it helps to make driving safer and extend the life of your tires.

What Does a Wheel Alignment Consist Of?

When you get a wheel alignment some words that will be used will be caster, camber and toe. I will try to explain these terms in an easy to understand way.

  • CASTER: is the angle of the pivot points and whether they are positive or negative. A simple example is when you look at the front wheels of a shopping cart, when you push the cart forward the wheels follow and that is an example of caster. Positive caster makes the vehicle more stable at higher speeds. Caster out of adjustment can cause a car, truck or SUV to possibly pull to one side or make the  vehicle drive differently than it should.
  • CAMBER: is measured in degrees and is the relationship of the tire to the ground (perpendicular to the ground is 0 degrees).  The easy way to explain camber is when you are at the front of the car and look at the tires does they lean in toward the car or out away from it? Negative camber is inward and positive is outward.  The wrong camber angle can cause irregular tire wear.
  • TOE: is the angle of the tires from a top view above them. This is probably the easiest to understand of the three. If you look down at your feet and plant your heels and move your toes in an inch this angle would be toed in (positive toe). If the toe is not right  tire wear can occur by scrubbing the rubber off against the road surface and will be worn on the edges. Positive toe increases stability.

If your car happens to be out of adjustment when it is being aligned it might need shims or cambered bolts to bring it back into correct alignment. This could be due to an accident, something bumped or ran over on the road or just a little to far out of adjustment.

Steering parts might be worn out or loose and need to be replaced before a correct alignment can be done. Some of the parts  that might need to be replaced are the ball joints (upper or lower), pitman arm, idler arm, center link, tie rod ends,  and other related items such as sway bar end links.

Do Newer Cars Need Wheel Alignments?

Yes. All vehicles at some point will need a wheel alignment. Although, the tolerances on the newer vehicles are more precise than ever and need to be inspected prior to moving forward  on your front end alignment. The damage of  ignoring  tire wear can far exceed the cost of alignment. 

Carrying a lot of extra weight in the car or in the trunk can effect tire wear and your alignment.

There are different times that you need to get an alignment, for example, near me are several large pot holes that if hit, can knock it out of alignment.

Reasons for a Wheel Alignment

Reasons an alignment  might be needed are:

  • If you get a new tire
  • Your old tires are wearing incorrectly whether in the middle, on the outside left or right
  • You’ve run over something
  • You’ve hit a large pothole
  • Your vehicle is pulling to one side
  • Either there is play in the steering wheel or your steering wheel is crooked when you are driving straight.
  • You’ve bumped a curb or just as a precaution.

As part of your cars regular maintenance and to increase the longevity of the tires you should  get an alignment once a year (because of road conditions in Johnson City), check your tires pressures and rotate your tires regularly.

How long does a wheel alignment take?

A good alignment can take over an hour so making an appointment, and dropping the vehicle off, is the best option.

We are an ASE Blue Seal Auto Repair facility and our staff is highly trained. We have master mechanics to help make your repair experience the best it can be. Whether your car is an American, Asian or European we can do your wheel alignment and get you safely back on the road. We have loaner cars to offer that takes some of the hassle out of car repair.

So when your looking for a wheel alignment near me, visit:

American & Import Auto Repair
3832 W. Market Street
Johnson City, TN 37604