Why you need to get a wheel alignment

Posted by: Dan on 30/04/2012

Category: Maintenance

Which wheel alignment is which? 

The world of tyres can be pretty difficult to understand. To most of us, they’re round, black circles of rubber. To the engineers who design and develop them, there is so much more going on. Those efforts are essential to our safety and well being on the road, managing everything from braking to handling in wet weather and more.

The simple fact is that while most of us don’t know a lot about tyres, what they do (which is to keep us safe on the road) is vitally important. That’s why it’s important to make sure you select the right tyre for your car and your driving needs, but it’s just as important to make sure your tyres are aligned properly.

Alignments are a complex adjustment of angles related to the suspension, the position of each tyre and the vehicle’s chassis. Most commonly an incorrect alignment will result in your tyres wearing more rapidly and often unevenly (with greater wear on the outer or inner side of the tyre’s tread). However, if your car is more severely out-of-alignment this can also have negative effects on your car’s handling and performance. All of this also impacts your overall fuel economy.

So you can see that the costs of having an incorrect alignment add up pretty quickly, and that this can also have implications for your safety on the road.  Most often your alignment gradually changes as you drive. Usually your vehicle’s suspension will change as individual components like ball joints or springs wear and shift, this changes your alignment. Alignment will also be affected by hitting road hazards like potholes, or running over an object of sufficient size (like a footpath).

All of this is why we believe that in order to get the best out of your tyres you should always have an alignment done when you purchase new tyres. We offer fixed online prices for our alignments for this very reason. We further recommend that you have your alignment checked every 10,000kms (which works out to roughly twice a year). Lastly it’s important to have your alignment checked if you have an accident (even at low speed), run into a road hazard (like those above), if you notice your steering “pulling” to one direction, or if you notice unusual or uneven tyre wear on your tyres.

We want you to get the best out of your tyres, for the full life of your tyres. If you’re ever unsure, then feel free to call us, chat with us online or drop into one of your stores the get the right advice on what’s best for you, your car and your safety.

In our next article we'll take a look at the different kinds of wheel alignment, what they measure and how the adjustment affects your car.