Here’s Your Assignment: Get an Alignment

Wheel alignment is an essential maintenance task that every vehicle owner should perform regularly. It keeps your car wheels correctly angled perpendicular to the ground and parallel. This process helps to prevent premature tire wear, which can happen if your wheels have an improper angle.

It’s like walking. If one leg goes one way while the other veers off another way, how can you expect to get where you are going?

You might be wondering why in the world manufacturers would build flawed cars that won’t behave. The truth is, they are not defective; they are like everything else, and wear and tear takes its toll. That’s why we take our vehicles to the “car doctors” (aka mechanics) for regular check-ups. Fortunately, KS Autocare in Elgin has certified technicians who know that aligning your vehicle involves more than wheel adjustment.

What’s Involved In Wheel Alignment? 

  • Your vehicle’s whole suspension system – the parts that connect your wheels to the car and keep the tires on the road – occasionally needs an adjustment. 
  • Today’s vehicles have systems to keep every pothole and bump from rattling your brains (the ride) and to keep your vehicle under control by keeping the rubber tires stuck to the road (handling). 

How Can You Tell If Your Car’s Suspension System Needs Re-alignment?

There’s a lot to know! 

  • The suspension system includes the frame – the engine and the body – the suspension system itself, the steering system, and the tires. All these pieces must be adjusted, sometimes based on time on the road or mileage, and sometimes when your suspension system has been knocked around and all the parts are no longer aligned.  
  • Why don’t your wheels just run straight forever? Unfortunately, daily driving isn’t an exact science. You might hit a curb, drive into a pothole or run over an object on the road. You may drive on rocky roads, which can cause your wheels to twist so they don’t contact the road correctly.  

Your wheels – and tires – must be adequately aligned three ways. Think of this as looking at the wheels from the front, side, and above.  

  • Camber. This is the angle of the wheels when you look at them from the front.  
  • Caster. When attached to the axle, you look at the angle of your vehicle’s wheels from the side.
  • Toe. This is the angle of your vehicle’s wheels when you look at them from above. This view is like looking down at your feet. Do your toes turn in or out?  

What Are Some Signs of Needing Wheel Alignment?

Chances are, you are not performing diagnostics on your vehicle; that’s the role of the mechanic. You can, however, do simple checks to see if your car needs a wheel alignment. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Check your tires. The tires may be unevenly worn if your vehicle needs alignment. If the camber, caster or toe are “out of alignment,” the inside tread or the tread on one side of the tire will be worn more than the other side. But be aware of tire inflation and wear problems caused by too much or too little air.  
  • Make sure your tires are correctly inflated. If they’re too full, the center of the tire tread will be worn more than the edges. If there’s not enough air in the tire, it will flatten out, and the edges will be more worn. While misalignment often causes wear patterns, it’s not the only cause. 
  • One way to tell is if your steering wheel vibrates as you drive or you’re driving straight ahead, but the steering wheel looks like you’re making a turn.  
  • On a flat, smooth road, drive straight ahead and take your hands off the steering wheel for one or two seconds. Did the vehicle pull to one side? That’s a clear clue that you have an alignment problem.

What Else Can You Do?

Checking the camber, the caster, and the toe is not easy and is not something you can do at home. It’s not the same thing as tire balancing. It requires complex equipment and should be performed by technicians you can trust. 

wheel alignment Elgin
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Bring Your Vehicle to KS Autocare for Professional Wheel Alignment in Elgin

At KS Autocare in Elgin, Illinois, we are always happy to look at your wheel alignment and suspension. We are your go-to place for all things vehicle adjustment. If it’s routine, we’ll inspect it and advise you if preventive maintenance is in order. If your vehicle needs repairs, you can bet we’ll get you back on the road before you can spin your wheels. 

Car problems are the worst! Don’t sweat it; bring it to us. We are KS Autocare, and we know cars. Call us today.