The alignment on your car is essential to maintaining the handling and drivability of the vehicle. The car can struggle with handle problems if the alignment is off even a small amount. Beyond the handling issues, wear and tear on other parts of the car can result from a slight alignment issue.
Signs Of Alignment Issues
Some of the signs that you might have an alignment issue and need to go to an auto-alignment repair shop are small things that you start to notice over time. They can direct you to a big problem, but someone who has never driven your car might not see them at first if they took your car for a ride. The car pulling left or right, banging in the front end when going over bumps, and odd steering can all be things you notice when driving. Visually, uneven tire wear can be an indicator of a car that is out of alignment.
Checking The Alignment
Take your car into a shop that has an alignment rack as soon as you suspect there is a problem. The car is put on the alignment rack and the sensors placed on the wheels of the vehicle. The technician will use the machine to measure many different points on the suspension with a laser to verify if it is where it is supposed to be. Once he has all the measurements, the tech can check them against the factor measurements to ensure the tires and suspension are in the right place. If they are not, the car will need to be aligned.
What is Done During the Alignment?
If the car is determined to be out of alignment, the technician will begin to look for bad ball joints, struts, shocks, and steering components. Sometimes the front end only needs to be adjusted, but if there are worn parts in the car, the alignment will not hold for very long. You are better off to replace the worn parts while you are aligning the car if you want to get the most of the alignment.
The laser and sensors are used to make the adjustments needed for the alignment once the tech finishes replacing the parts. If the tires have been damaged while the car was out of alignment, you might need to replace those too. But don't just look at the front tires. On modern vehicles, alignments include all four wheels. While there are shops that still do front end alignments only, most understand the need to align the whole car these days.