This month we’re tackling wheel alignments.

Having a car that is out of alignment is not uncommon, especially in New England. While time is the greatest factor to consider if your vehicle needs an alignment, so are pot holes. Hitting even one pot hole can misalign your entire vehicle, greatly impacting its performance - regardless of how recent your last alignment was performed. Just left your auto mechanic and drove right through a pot hole? You probably just undid all the hard work your mechanic just completed.

We recently chatted with Master Mechanic Mike Gooden of the Londonderry, NH VIP Tires & Service location to talk about your vehicle’s wheel alignment.

While driving your out-of-alignment vehicle won’t necessarily damage or hurt the car – the cost of replacing your tires prematurely could definitely hurt your wallet. Tires that are out of alignment most likely won’t reach their full mileage warrantee. If you have wear on the inside of your tires, the chances of a blow out when you hit that next bump or pot hole are also greatly increased.

 

If you are unsure if your vehicle is in need of a wheel alignment, there are a few things you can look out for:

 

  • ·         Choppy and loud tires while you are driving
  • ·         Internal or external tire wear
  • ·         Drifting to one side while driving straight

 

 

There are some occasions when this is not an alignment issue – and this is the perfect time to visit your local VIP mechanic to find out. They will place your car on the lift to see what is going on. Most often, when this is NOT an alignment issue, it is as simple as a front end that needs to be tightened. If an alignment is needed, which is typically the case, your mechanic will easily be able to see uneven wear on the tires – don’t be afraid to ask to see for yourself! This can help you spot future uneven wear.

Interesting fact about alignments: European built cars have more angles to adjust during an alignment. This is because European cars are generally sportier and need to have capabilities that require additional alignment options. Cars built in the U.S. are generally easier to align, due to fewer options and angles to align. Your local VIP Tires & Service are able to align every type of vehicle but it may take longer on some cars versus others.

Don’t forget that your local VIP Tires & Service offers a FREE alignment check – so if you’re wondering about your alignment, just stop in and get it checked. Most vehicles take about 20 to 30 minutes for a start to finish alignment. If your vehicle is a bit frozen this time of year, it may take a little longer.

Remember, it does not take much to send your wheels out of alignment – time, bumps/pot holes and bad driving all play their part. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends in terms of regular alignments. If you think that those pot holes have it in for you, VIP also offers a Lifetime Alignment Package for your vehicle – this is great if you have a newer car – it pays for itself after two alignments (based on the average cost for an alignment). Get more information here: Lifetime Alignment Package

This article is made possible by VIP Tires & Service. VIP is a complete automotive repair and service center. When you choose VIP for tiresauto inspection, automotive serviceoil change, wheel alignment, brake repair services, muffler & exhaust repair, or any other car maintenance, you can rest assured that we will keep your vehicle running right. Open 7 days a week and with 56 locations throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, VIP is right around the corner when you need us