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Q: Why Should I Get an Alignment?

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Why should I get an alignment?

A: Suspension alignments are necessary for two...

Suspension alignments are necessary for two main reasons: to forestall uneven tire wear and to be sure your car is handling optimally. Vehicle manufacturers have generally moved away from recommending that wheel alignments be checked or performed as part of a maintenance program, but only be done on an as-needed basis. Checking whether or not your car’s tires are wearing evenly needs to be done whenever the tires are rotated and a wheel alignment should be performed if necessary. The suspension components should be checked and corrected, if needed, when the alignment is done to be sure a worn or malfunctioning part is not causing the uneven tire wear. Suspension alignments require special equipment that mobile mechanics can’t carry.

Usually, handling issues show up when you notice that your car doesn’t track straight when you momentarily take your hands off the steering wheel. In cases like this, the suspension should be checked and adjusted, if necessary, to the manufacturer’s specifications. As a side note, another aspect to take into consideration in “car pulls while driving” cases is a condition known as “radial tire lead.” This is a condition where the belts under the tire tread are not aligned properly with the body plies and there’s a cone effect in the tire, causing the car to pull. This isn’t a safety concern, and the only solution is to replace the tire or rotate it to the back axle of the car where it won’t influence how the car drives.

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