Does Changing Wheels Affect Alignment?
Now that you’re getting new tires, what’s next? Do you need to have your wheel alignment adjusted?
Wheel alignment, also known as tire alignment, is an important aspect of vehicle maintenance that shouldn’t be overlooked. It can help your tires deliver optimal performance and prevent your vehicle from behaving differently on the road.
Simply put, changing tires can affect your vehicle’s wheel alignment. But while wheel alignment is not required, it’s a good idea for owners to have this done when they get new tires to prevent occurrences of rough or vibrating rides and premature tire wear.
Proper wheel alignment reduces the friction on your tires by ensuring that all wheels are set at the appropriate angle.
How to Determine If You Need a Wheel Alignment
How can you tell if you need a wheel alignment? Here are some questions that can help guide your judgment:
· Does your vehicle frequently veer from left to right or vice versa?
· Do you hear a flopping noise when driving?
· Do your tires squeal?
· Does your steering wheel look crooked even when you’re driving straight?
· Are your tires rapidly showing signs of wear?
· Do you notice uneven signs of wear on your tires?
· Is your steering wheel constantly vibrating whenever you’re driving?
Unfortunately, most vehicles don’t have indicators that show if there’s any alignment problem. One of the quickest ways to tell if your car needs an alignment is by testing it. Try driving it in a straight direction, briefly let go of the steering wheel, and see if the car veers to one side. If you think that your vehicle needs an alignment, give your mechanic a call.
How Often Does Your Vehicle Need Wheel Alignment?
Even if you’re not changing tires, it’s recommended that you get an alignment annually or once every 10,000 kilometers. If you’re unsure when it’s best to have your car checked for alignment, you can check your car owner’s manual to see the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.
Going for regular checkups is also a good way to keep your vehicle in tiptop shape.
There are ways to address misalignment issues at home. You can try to lighten the load on your vehicle’s back end by removing any junk or piece of heavy equipment that you might be keeping there. This is to help balance your vehicle’s weight, thus maintaining alignment.
You can also try checking your tire’s air pressure. Keep it at optimal levels to maintain wheel alignment. One of the easiest ways to ensure that your wheel alignment is at an optimal level is to practice conservative driving. Not only does it extend your vehicle’s life, but conservative driving also maintains your vehicle’s various components, which play a role in maintaining proper wheel alignment.
The Importance of Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment helps your tires perform better and last longer. This translates to savings because you won’t have to buy or change your tires that often. It also enables your vehicle to function optimally, letting it become more fuel efficient and easy to maneuver.
Moreover, wheel alignment can minimize or prevent vehicle component wear. Improper wheel alignment can lead to:
· Camber wear
· Heel or toe wear
Misalignment can also pose a safety risk. Misaligned tires may cause your steering wheel to vibrate or make your car difficult to handle.
Tire Balancing vs. Wheel Alignment
If you’ve been doing your research on wheel alignment, you might have encountered “tire balancing”. Tire balancing is a different procedure from wheel alignment. It’s also a crucial factor in maintaining proper tire care.
Tire or wheel balancing is done to correct the uneven weight distribution on all the wheels. In this procedure, your tire and wheel assembly are balanced, so your vehicle can travel evenly. Imbalanced wheels and misaligned wheels share some common issues, such as vibrations and excessive tire wear. Where the vibrations occur can also indicate which wheels need balancing. If your steering wheel often vibrates, your front wheels may need balancing. If it’s the seats, then your back wheels may need to be checked.
Tire imbalance can be caused by various factors, such as uneven tire wear and manufacturing imperfections. When left unchecked, this can shorten your tires’ lifespan and adversely affect their performance.
When you’re having your car checked, your mechanic may perform tire balancing and wheel alignment in one session.
Planning on Changing Tires?
Wheels Direct provides you with the finest selection of factory wheels at amazing prices. We offer free shipping on all orders and give you a more convenient way to shop for your favorite tires and accessories. With us, you can shop online and pay with PayPal for your utmost convenience.
If you’re planning on having new wheels installed, we recommend that you also ask your mechanic for a wheel alignment. Drive safely and have peace of mind.