Wheels | Alignment | Tires
Why alignment is critical to your vehicle performance
Taking a closer look at alignment
To understand why tire alignment is so essential in your car maintenance, it is important to look at what happens if your vehicle is not aligned. If you live in New England, you may no longer notice the notoriously common potholes, bumps, and rough terrain in your daily driving. However, this normal driving can take a toll on your car, and alter the precise specifications for your steering and suspension components. When your suspension becomes worn (i.e. stretched springs), the wheels can end up in the wrong angles. As a result, misaligned tires can wear out unevenly (commonly identified by a “torn” appearance), and this poor tread can increase your risk when driving. More specifically, when you don’t have the proper amount of tread, or uneven tread, your car lacks the traction it needs when the car has to stop suddenly, like in inclement weather like rain or snow. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) establishes ratings for your tires that factor in type, traction, tread wear, and temperature specifications. In order to depend on these ratings, you need to do your part and make sure you focus on wheel alignment and maintain the right amount of air pressure. If you fail to do this, you cannot expect your tires and vehicle to perform in the way you want.
If you find yourself buying tires on a frequent basis, you may need to focus more on tire alignment. It is not only effective in balancing your tire wear, but also more economical for your budget. How do you know if you need wheel alignment? If you want to go by the book, take a look at the owner manual of your vehicle and follow its recommendations for alignment timing. If you want more visual cues, take a look at your car more closely. The biggest sign is if your tires look rough and/or torn, especially with significant wear and tear on the outside of the tires. Other symptoms of misalignment include your car drifting to one side more than the other, a vibrating steering wheel, or a steering wheel that won’t stay centered even when you are driving on a straight course. If you are still unclear if your car is in need of alignment, look to VIP for the answer. Our alignment check is free and the expert advice from our ASE certified technicians is deeply valuable.
Why you should never accept less than four-wheel alignment
If you are in need of a wheel alignment service, your car will be treated with a specific process. VIP ASE certified technicians put the car suspension exactly where it should be, and make sure the wheels are aligned. Our technicians look at all suspension components to make sure nothing is broken or too badly worn, provide tire mount and balance, and will make the precise measurements necessary to align the vehicle axels and wheels to move in the same direction. You may hear the terms toe, thrust, caster, and camber; these are all the angles that need to be modified for proper alignment. After looking at your vehicle and suspension, we will recommend a specific type of alignment that factors in your car’s specific angles and requirements. Many competitors out there advertise “free front end alignment,” but this is misleading. Over 90 percent of cars need the complete four-wheel alignment, including all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles that have adjustable or independent rear suspensions. When you receive a four-wheel alignment, all four wheels align in a rectangle formation. The wheels are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other, which is essential for proper alignment.
In achieving proper alignment you may also benefit from tire rotation. Here, the tires are moved to different locations of the car to achieve more even wear. Since our vehicles are very front-heavy (due to the location of the engine), our front tires have extra weight to contend with, including the pressure of braking. Since these tires take on the brunt of the work in our daily driving, rotation helps manage the tread wear, without repeated replacement of the front tires. VIP can certainly complete this tire rotation for you, and also give you the proper timeline to receive this maintenance on a regular basis.
VIP alignment saves you money down the road
Our ASE certified technicians are available seven days a week to fix any mechanical problem that might interfere with proper alignment. With this investment into your vehicle’s alignment, you will save money in the long run, since frequent tire replacement is much more expensive. More than that, tire alignment service will give you peace of mind. Not only will your gas mileage improve with proper alignment, you will also have a safer vehicle that can handle various driving conditions (even in bad weather) at an increased level of reliability. Through alignment, VIP can help your vehicle achieve the performance level it was designed to meet. For all your alignment needs, call VIP today!