Your driving habits, worn suspension, or faulty alignment can severely affect the life of your vehicle’s tires. Poor tire alignment will lead to uneven and rapid wearing of your car’s tires. Moreover, a defective alignment may introduce problems like your car pulling right or left, squealing tires, or a noisy steering wheel.
It is advisable to check your vehicle’s alignment regularly since it is critical to an enjoyable driving experience. But should you get an alignment before you get new tires?
What Is Alignment?
A car’s alignment refers to the adjustment of its suspension. The suspension connects the vehicle’s frame to the wheels and provides stability. Shock absorbers, steering linkages, and ball joints are parts of the car’s suspension and are affected by its alignment. Other parts include the control arms and the tires.
The alignment deals with the angles between the road and the tires. All the wheels must align with each other so that the car travels in a straight line. However, there are times when you may want to skew this alignment beyond what you would typically call normal. Motorsport and off-road driving face unique situations where the adjustment of the angles is different from regular driving.
How Important Is Alignment Before New Tires?
Many experts say that worn tires only affect the ride’s height. By itself, this is unlikely to affect the alignment. However, poor alignment and several other factors can cause a tire to wear out.
Therefore, it makes little difference if you get an alignment before getting new tires or not. However, it is good to get an alignment after changing your tires. Ultimately, we advise seeking expert advice before investing in new tires or an alignment.
5 Common Causes of Bad Wheel Alignment
Poor alignment can be hazardous, and we recommend that you see a professional as soon as you notice any problems. Below we have outlined five things that can ruin your vehicle’s alignment.
1. Driving Over Potholes
Driving over potholes, especially when going fast, can affect your car’s alignment. Frequent potholes on your route will damage your suspension and ruin the car’s alignment over time. Not to mention potholes may lead to accidents. If there are potholes you cannot avoid, it is best to go over them slowly and carefully.
Your vehicle is bound to misalign after getting into any major accident. See your mechanic and have your alignments checked out immediately if this happens. If you continue driving with a faulty alignment, you may make more expensive visits to the mechanic later.
3. Faulty Suspension Parts
Your vehicle’s suspension has several critical parts, including the shock absorbers, springs, linkages, etc. If any of these parts are faulty, they could cause alignment problems in your vehicle. Also, older vehicles experience more frequent wear and tear, making your car lose its alignment. Routine checks and maintenance will help quickly identify faulty parts or wear before they cause more damage.
4. Vehicle Modifications
Modifying by lifting or adding larger tires beyond the maker’s recommendation will misalign your car. If you’re putting in bigger tires, ensure that the suspension can cope with the additions. Also, only let trained technicians conduct any modifications on your car.
5. Speeding Over Curbs, Speed Bumps, or Debris
Like potholes, you should also avoid driving over the curb. If you must do so, then go over them carefully and slowly. Similarly, avoid going over road debris such as tree branches or rocks. Driving over debris can also be dangerous by causing your vehicle to swerve uncontrollably and cause an accident.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I get an alignment?
It would be best to get an alignment as soon as you notice the inability of your car to drive straight. Otherwise, have it checked out during your routine maintenance.
2. Do I need an alignment if I replace all my tires?
An alignment might not be necessary, especially if there were no problems before changing the tires. Your technician will usually check the alignment when changing your tires.
3. Can I do an alignment on unevenly worn tires?
A car out of alignment is one of the primary causes of tires wearing out unevenly. However, you might need to check your car thoroughly for other causes of uneven tire wear. Nonetheless, your mechanic will inform you whether you should continue with your tires or replace them.
Regular wheel alignments will keep your tires in excellent condition, thus saving you money on new tires. If your vehicle is correctly aligned, you will notice an improvement in fuel economy and performance. You will also be protecting your vehicle’s suspension from needless repairs. Conclusively, it is better to get an alignment after installing new tires. Most importantly, ensure that your car’s alignment is checked frequently and corrected when necessary.