Importance of wheel alignment

Car maintenance

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Vehicle pulling to the right or left even if you are driving in a straight line? Vibration in the steering wheel? Uneven tyre wear patterns? Creaking sounds from the tyres? Your vehicle may be in need of a wheel or tyre alignment.

According to experts, wheel alignment should ideally be performed every 10,000 miles if you are regularly driving on paved roads, but lower than that if you are constantly traveling pothole-ridden or unpaved routes. Aside from that, it is also required if you have figured in a major road incident, or have tyres replaced.

Wheel alignment is and should be part of every motorist’s vehicle preventive maintenance plan. It involves checking and making necessary adjustments on the different suspension components and the angles of the tyres so that these run perpendicular to any traveled surface and are parallel to each other. Mechanics generally adjust three things: caster (steering pivot angle), camber (wheel angle) and toe (“the extent to which the tyres turn inward or outward when viewed from above”). When having the vehicle’s wheels aligned, motorists are also advised to go for wheel balancing, which ensures weight is evenly distributed around the axle.

Wheel alignment may be overlooked by a number of drivers because it is a small procedure. However, it proves to give huge savings in terms of fuel efficiency and not having to spend for new tyres every now and then. It also improves one’s driving comfort and safety on the road.

Handy Hints
• Wheel alignment involves adjusting tyre angles
• Mechanics usually check caster, camber and toe
• Drivers advised to have wheels aligned regularly

Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Classifieds The writer is a freelancer