What’s a Front End Alignment and Why Do You Need One?
When you think about automotive maintenance, chances are good you think of oil changes, tire rotations, changing your air filter and the like. However, how often do you think of having your vehicle aligned? Both two and four-wheel drive vehicles need to have a front-end alignment periodically to ensure that the vehicle tracks straight down the road, and that tire wear is uniform.
What’s an Alignment?
Your car’s suspension is very complex, and it must combine control elements with vibration suppression components. There are quite a few moving or movable parts in the front end, and many of them bear on your wheel alignment. There are three terms you’ll want to know about wheel alignment – camber, caster and toe. These affect how the tires are aligned with each other, with the road, and with the vehicle.
Your alignment is not static – it’s affected by many things, including the road surface, potholes, curbs and general wear and tear. Over time, your alignment changes for the worse, and you’ll need to have it aligned to bring it back into the correct arrangement. Not having your vehicle aligned regularly puts you in danger of several things.
One of the most common problems here (and a sign that you need an alignment immediately) is unusual tire wear. If you notice edge wear on either the inner or outer edge of your front tires, you need to have an alignment done. Note that wear on BOTH edges is not necessarily alignment related. Wear in the center of the tread is also NOT alignment related.
In addition to abnormal tire wear (and the chance for premature failure), you’ll also notice that your fuel economy is worse than it should be. Having a front-end alignment done is important for all vehicles, and this service should be done on your Weston, Florida mechanic’s recommended interval.