Your FAQs for Wheel Alignments
Your FAQs for Wheel Alignments
Posted on May 14, 2020
We're back once more with some helpful FAQs, this time for your 4x4, FWD, and AWD wheel alignments. Hopefully this will help clear up any questions you have regarding alignments but if you still have some unanswered questions, feel free to send us an email, give us a call, or visit in person to have them answered.
Q: What is a wheel alignment?
A: You likely won't even notice, but your wheels can cease being aligned from everyday jolts or mishaps. When your wheels aren't aligned, your vehicle's drivability is reduced, your gas mileage isn't as great, and your tires will unevenly wear. An alignment will adjust the angle of your vehicle's wheels back to their original specifications.
Q: Are alignments necessary?
A: Of course. Having properly aligned wheels means even wear on your tires, keeping your vehicle from pulling to the left or right, and ensures even contact with the road. You'll also get a smoother ride and better gas mileage.
Q: What affects wheel alignment?
A: Many things can affect wheel alignment over time: settling of suspension, fatigue of springs and bushings, hitting a pothole, going over big bumps, rubbing up against a curb, these will all cause your vehicle's wheels to come out of alignment.
Q: How can I tell if my wheels are out of alignment?
A: Unfortunately, it's not as easy as a quick look at your tires. You might notice that your steering wheel is off-centre, or feel a pull or drift or notice that your handling isn't as good. The only sure way to know is to take it in to a technician to check on an alignment machine.
Q: Will it affect my tires?
A: Yes. If they're showing wear on the edges or feathering, it likely means they're being dragged rather than rolling smoothly. This means that the toe or camber angle is off.
Q: How are alignments done?
A: An alignment machine will measure the wheel angles which will then be calculated and compared against your vehicle's original specs and adjusted as needed.
Q: Should I get an alignment when I get new tires?
A: Yes, this is the best way to get the most mileage out of your tires. You'll have to ask for an alignment as it's not part of the installation process.
Q: How often is an alignment needed?
A: Regular alignments are part of your basic maintenance and should be performed annually. If you travel roads that are washboard, have excessive potholes, or are rutted, you should have your alignment checked twice a year.
Q: Is four-wheel alignment only for 4-wheel-drive vehicles?
A: Regardless of being 4x4, RWD, or FWD, most cars and many SUVs are four-wheel alignable. You'll want a four-wheel alignment because it's equally important to check the rear wheels for alignment as it is the front.
Q: Does misalignment affect gas mileage?
A: Yes, properly aligned tires have less rolling resistance, so improperly aligned tires will drag slightly and cause a loss in fuel efficiency.
Q: Does misalignment cause steering wheel vibration?
A: No, this is a sign of unbalanced tires, not misalignment.
At South Trail Kia, we cannot stress enough the importance of having properly aligned wheels. If you suspect your wheels are out of alignment, book an appointment with us to have them looked at and aligned if necessary.