All About Alignment

Do I need an alignment

What is a wheel alignment and do I need one?

When speaking about vehicle alignment, it can be a complicated issue. Wheel alignment is the position of your tires relative to the vehicle's body. This includes their position fore and aft, as well as the angle at which the tires sit relative to the vehicle's body on all four axles. There are many parts in the suspension system that can affect your alignment. While driving a vehicle in need of alignment can be aggravating but most importantly it can affect the performance, longevity, and safety of your tires and vehicle itself. At our Dodge repair center serving D.C., we can take care of this for you with expert precision.

How Can My Vehicle Lose Its Alignment?

Alignment measurements are taken in tenths and hundredths of degrees, so it does not take much to knock your alignment out. There are many ways that this can happen, and we think that you'll be familiar with most of them.

Wheel Alignment is thrown off by:

  • Potholes
  • Hitting curbs
  • Bumping into parking stall barriers
  • Wear and tear - as your vehicle ages, the rubber brushes that go throughout your suspension start to crack and lose elasticity, while socket and ball joints develop wear.

How To Know If I Need an Alignment

There are a few indicators that will help you determine if you need a wheel alignment, all of which can be checked out by our full-service Chrysler repair center serving Springfield. Our experts can help figure out the issue and get you back on the road!

  • Uneven tread wear
  • Vehicle pulling to the left or right
  • Your steering wheel is off center when driving straight
  • Steering wheel vibration

How Often I Should Get an Alignment

Depending on your driving conditions, every vehicle is a little different but generally, you should have an alignment once per year or every third oil change. If you find yourself doing a lot of driving where you are running over potholes, rough roads, or other debris you may need to have it checked more often. Consult your owner's manual for your manufacturer’s recommended intervals.

What If I Neglect My Alignment?

We never want this to cross your mind. Neglecting your alignment over time will end up costing you even more than just the alignment. Poor alignment will cause poor tire wear, and dramatically reduce their lifespan. You will find yourself buying expensive sets of tires far more often. As your alignment worsens, you may start to experience steering and handling issues. The added stress on the tires will translate into added stress on your suspension components, leading to a need to replace costly parts earlier and more frequently than expected.

What Is Done During an Alignment?

Once the technician pulls your vehicle into the shop, they perform a visual and physical inspection of your tires and all suspension components to check that everything is in proper working condition. If a tire, bushing, or other suspension part needs replacement, it is best to replace it before the alignment is performed. Once the inspection has taken place, the technician will place the vehicle on a specialized machine that places specific laser and mirror system on each wheel. That system will translate precise measurements to a computer, letting the technician know your current camber, toe, and caster. The computer will also indicate where the adjustments need to be and how much adjustment is needed. Each vehicle has its own set of recommend camber, toe, and caster settings, so it is important to set up an appointment with us to make sure you’ve taken your vehicle to a reputable service station with a good alignment machine.

What is Camber, Toe, and Caster?

1. CamberCamber

Camber is the outward or inward angle of your tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much negative or positive camber is an indication of improper alignment and will need to be adjusted. This is often caused by worn wheel-suspension parts.

2. Toe

ToeToe refers to the angle at which your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above. When both tires are pointed at each other this is called toe-in, and when both are pointed away from each other this is called toe-out alignment. Each require their own adjustments. (This is a separate adjustment independent of your vehicles camber).

3. CasterCaster

Caster is the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of the vehicle. Positive caster indicates that the axis is tilted towards the driver. Negative caster indicates that the axis tilts toward the front of your vehicle. This adjustment helps to balance the stability, steering and cornering of your vehicle. (This to is a separate adjustment from the caster and toe adjustments).

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