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Auto Services

Vehicle Alignment

What Everyone Should Know About Wheel Alignment

Making sure your vehicle maintains the proper wheel alignment is a very important component to maintaining the life of your tires.

On this vehicle, the front wheels are not aligned to the rear thrust line. This can happen from normal wear and stress, whether your vehicle has adjustable or non-adjustable rear suspension.   To steer straight ahead, you would have to steer the front wheels slightly to the right.  A common result would be that the vehicle would “dog track” and possibly “pull” to the side.  Of course, the angles are exaggerated so you can more easily see the condition. But it takes only a small misalignment to create problems.

Why Four Wheel Alignment?

Reduced Tire Wear
Improper alignment is a major cause of premature tire wear. Over the years, a properly aligned vehicle can add thousands of miles to tire life.

Better Gas Mileage
Gas mileage increases as rolling resistance decreases. Total alignment sets all four wheel parallel which, along with proper inflation, minimizes rolling resistance.

Improved Handling
Does your car pull to one side? Does the steering wheel vibrate? Do you constantly have to move the steering wheel to keep your car traveling straight ahead? Many handling problems can be corrected by total alignment. With all the system components aligned properly, road shock is more efficiently absorbed for a smoother ride.

Safer Driving A suspension system inspection is part of our alignment procedure. This allows us to spot worn parts before they cause costly problems.

Here's what we do:

For vehicles with non-adjustable rear suspensions

 

  1. Angle readings are measured at all four wheels.
  2. The steering wheel is centered.
  3. Front wheels are referenced to rear thrust line and set to specifications.

Result: All four wheels are parallel and the steering wheel is centered.

For vehicles with adjustable rear suspensions


  1. Angle readings are measured at all four wheels.
  2. Rear wheels are set to specification. (Rear thrust line corresponds to vehicle centerline.)
  3. Steering wheel is centered.
  4. Front wheels are referenced to the rear thrust line and set to specification.

Result: all four wheels are positioned straight ahead and parallel, and the steering wheel is centered.

Important Questions About Wheel Alignment

Q. How important is wheel alignment?
A. Research indicates that the average car is driven about 12,000 miles per year. A car with toe alignment just 0.34 degrees (Just 0.17 inches) out of specification has dragged its tires sideways for more than 68 miles by the end of the year!

Q. What are the “symptoms” of a car that's out of alignment?
A. Have a free alignment check performed at Raffield Tire if you notice:

  • Excessive or uneven tire wear.
  • Steering wheel pulls to the left or right.
  • Feeling of looseness or wandering.
  • Steering wheel vibration or shimmy.
  • Steering wheel is not centered when car is moving straight ahead.

Q. How often should I have my car aligned?
A. Follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation noted in your owner's manual. As a general rule, have your vehicle's tires checked every 10,000 miles, or at least once a year.

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