When you get your first car, learning the ins and outs of general maintenance and troubleshooting can be a challenge. One thing many new drivers don't understand is the importance of wheel alignment and what can affect it. Before you find yourself with handling issues or worse, here are a few things you should know about your car's alignment and how to care for it.
Why Does Alignment Matter?
Your car's alignment is a key part of its manufacturing. The angles of the drivetrain and wheels all contribute to how the tires wear and how your car handles. When your car is in proper alignment, it helps to ensure the best possible handling and safety on the road. Proper alignment will reduce excess tire wear, keep your car driving smooth on the road, and eliminate drift or pull to either side. It can also reduce your fuel consumption, because a misalignment can cause some drag on the car, which consumes more fuel.
What Can Affect Alignment?
You would think that once your tires are properly aligned, they'll stay that way. At least, until you change them or rotate them. The fact is, many things can affect your car's alignment. If you live in an area with a lot of rough roads, that's a common culprit. The jarring, bouncing, and impact of potholes and other obstacles in the road can actually cause your wheels to shift out of alignment. The same is true for hitting a curb, even lightly. Even slight alignment issues can lead to serious problems for your car.
Does Your Car Need an Alignment?
If your car needs an alignment, it will tell you. You just need to know how to listen. For example, if you're on a straight stretch of road, your steering wheel should remain centered. You should not have to pull it in either direction to keep your car going straight. If you do, there may be an alignment problem.
Noting any signs of pull in your car is also important. If you feel it pulling you in one direction or the other, and find that you're fighting the wheel to keep the car from drifting into another lane, that's another indication that you might need an alignment.
Tire wear can also tell you if you need an alignment. If you're seeing strange wear patterns in some tires, it's time to have the car checked by your mechanic. The sooner you fix the alignment issue, the more you'll save in tire replacement over time. To learn more, talk to auto services like D Wells Automotive Service.
Are you preparing to put your teenage son or daughter behind the wheel of a car for the very first time? Is your car ready for that? Having gone through this myself three times, I have created a checklist of things to inspect on my vehicles before allowing my kids to learn how to drive in them. I have worked with my mechanic to create a pre-driving inspection that can ensure that my kids are as safe as possible as they learn how to drive. Take a moment to visit my site and learn a few tips that can help keep your teenager safe while learning to drive.