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Blog

Understanding Wheel Alignment: Why Keep Tires ‘On The Straight And Narrow’

What is a wheel alignment service, and how can it save you money on fuel, repairs, and replacement tires? Read on to learn more about this essential maintenance service, or contact your local TIRECRAFT wheel alignment expert to get a free quote..

Wheel Alignment 101: Why Keep Tires “On The Straight And Narrow”

At its core, a wheel alignment is about adjusting your wheels to make sure rubber meets the road at the optimal angle, with all four wheels staying perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other.

During your wheel alignment, a TIRECRAFT technician will:

  • Check your tire pressure to ensure poor inflation is not the cause of your performance problems
  • Check your vehicle and tire specifications determine the ideal toe, camber, and caster number
  • Check the front end suspension to ensure all alignment measurements and performance evaluations are accurate
  • Measure and adjust your toe—if your tires are turned toe-in (i.e. towards the center line of your vehicle), the outer shoulder will scrub the road surface and wear it down very quickly; if they’re toe-out, you’re at risk of uneven wear on the inner shoulder of the tire.
  • Measure and adjust your camberif your wheels are angled with positive camber, so the top of the tire leans slightly outwards, you’re probably experiencing greater wear on the outer shoulder of the contact patch, whereas negative camber, with the top of the tire leaning slightly in, wears out the inner shoulder.
  • Test drive your vehicle to ensure proper alignment has been achieved

Proper wheel alignment benefits your vehicle in numerous ways, including:

  • Improving fuel efficiency—Studies show that improper wheel alignment can reduce fuel efficiency by as much as 10%. Accordingly, if the cost of your wheel alignment is less than 10% of your total annual gas expenditure, this important service essentially pays for itself—and you can rack up MyTIRECRAFT Rewards points all the while.
  • Extending tread life—Misalignment is a common cause of premature and uneven tire wear, such as “feathering,” when the tread becomes smooth or worn down on one side yet “sharp” on the other, and “heel and toe wear,” which occurs when one side of the tread block wears faster than the other. By staying on top of your wheel alignment, you extend your tire tread life, and buy fewer replacements.
  • Reducing general wear-and-tear on your vehicle—Misaligned tires force certain components to work harder than they should, which can lead to wear-and-tear and increased repair costs over the life of your vehicle.
  • Improving steering—If you need to hold the wheel askew to drive straight, you give up a great deal of control, and your odds of being involved in a dangerous collision greatly increase.
  • Smoothing out your ride—Without proper wheel alignment, your vehicle may pull to the left or right at random, leading to jarring, bumpy, and jolting drives, making it impossible to enjoy a weekend road trip or get through your morning commute in a good mood!

Book A Wheel Alignment With A Licensed Expert: Contact TIRECRAFT

Use the Find a TIRECRAFT tool to book a free wheel alignment quote and consultation with our team, and start saving money on fuel, repairs, and tire replacements.

References

U.S. Department of Energy (2020). “Keeping Your Car in Shape.”

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