DIY Auto Maintenance and Servicing Tips

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Why Wheel Alignment?

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If you're like most people, you probably don't give the alignment of your car's wheels a lot of thought. But badly aligned wheels can end up costing you money and even put you and your passengers at risk.

What is wheel alignment?

When your wheels are aligned they will be parallel to one another and will track perfectly straight when you drive along the road. The adjustments your car needs to align the wheels are highly technical. They are measured in millimeters using specialised equipment and will vary according to your car's make and model. To align your wheels, your auto professional may adjust the tilt of your wheels:

  • From in to out, when looking straight towards your car

  • From front to back, when looking side on

  • From above each wheel.

When do I need a wheel alignment?

It is a good idea to have your wheels aligned with every service, however there may be other times you need your wheels examined. The signs include:

  • Uneven wear on your tyres

  • A feeling of drifting across the road when driving

  • Needing to correct your steering wheel past centre to drive straight along the road.

These signs might spring up after being in an accident or even hitting a pothole, or they may appear out of the blue and gradually increase over time.

The costs of ignoring your wheel alignment

If you think getting your wheels aligned is as interesting as watching paint dry, you're not alone. But ignoring your alignment can have serious consequences. These include:

  • Wasting petrol: With poorly aligned wheels, the pressure your tyres experience becomes uneven, your car works harder to overcome friction from the road and you consume more petrol, just to get from A to B. This not only costs you money but also increases your environmental impact.

  • Damaging your tyres: Misaligned wheels will cause your tyres to wear quickly in some areas, and more slowly in others. This means they'll need to be replaced sooner than usual, at considerable cost.

  • Dangerous driving: Neglecting your wheel alignment can create a host of risks as a car that pulls to one side is ill-equipped to handle everyday driving, let alone complex environments such as wet or icy roads. Unevenly worn tyres also fail to hug the road the way they are intended to do, creating danger for you, your passengers and your fellow drivers.

  • Damage to your car: Leaving your car with badly aligned wheels can lead to far more expensive repairs to your brakes, brake shaft, suspension and steering system.

Investing a few minutes in having your wheels professionally aligned will save petrol, minimise costly repairs and keep you and your loved ones safer on the road. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind.