Getting It All In Line: Car Alignment 101
Most car owners are accustomed to the routine maintenance needs of a car. Things like oil changes, brake work, and tire replacements are necessary as a result of normal wear and tear, and these services are unavoidable. Wheel alignments are another frequently needed service. However, many car owners don't understand why. Many believe that, if an alignment has been done, it shouldn't need to be repeated. However, there are a lot of reasons why your car might need an alignment. Here are a few of the most common culprits.
Potholes And Rough Roads
Your car's alignment is dependent upon the precise alignment and structure of your suspension system and steering rack. When the routes you regularly travel include roads with potholes and rough terrain, the jostling from those potholes can cause your suspension components to shift. Over time and repeated travel, this can alter your wheel alignment. That's why it's best to avoid potholes, frost heaves, and rough roadways when possible. This helps to protect your alignment from damage.
If you're involved in an accident, whether it's a single-car collision or a multi-car incident, you may need to have your car's alignment checked as part of the repairs. The impact of an accident, no matter which direction it occurs in, can often be enough to shift your suspension and steering rack enough that your car's alignment will be shifted. If you don't have this addressed, you'll face handling issues, tire wear problems, and more.
Speed Bumps And Curbs
One of the hazards that many people don't think about when it comes to car alignment is a speed bump or curb. If you regularly park somewhere that requires you to travel over speed bumps, or you have a habit of hopping the curb (even unintentionally), you need to be mindful of your car's alignment. These things can be enough to shift your car's alignment, especially when you travel over them frequently.
Any time your car has been involved in any kind of impact or similar situation, you should be mindful of how that can affect the alignment. Even if your car doesn't show any visible physical damage, that doesn't mean that internal components, such as suspension and steering components, haven't been affected. Neglecting routine inspections and maintenance, especially after incidents like these, can leave you struggling with the effects of misalignment.
These are some of the most common causes for your car to need an alignment. If you've noticed handling problems that are indicative of alignment issues, reach out to a local service center today for guidance.