solving electrical issues in vehicles

Tips For Maintaining Your Alignment

by Cherly Fowler

The alignment of your car is a major mechanical and safety concern. A poorly aligned car typically pulls to one side or shakes at highway speeds, which can make it difficult to control. Poor alignment also causes premature wear on tires, puts stress on axles and bearings, can damage steering components, and it can negatively affect your gas mileage. The following tips can help you keep your alignment in good working order.

Tip #1: Avoid obstructions

Hitting obstructions, such as a large pothole or curb, are the surest ways to throw off your alignment. Take it slow over any bumps, including speed bumps, to avoid alignment issues, as well. Use reflective markers around your driveway if you tend to under- or over-shoot when pulling in at night, since this can save you from hitting the curb after dark.

Tip #2: Keep an eye on your tires

Badly worn or unevenly worn tires also affect your alignment. Most tires now have wear bars built into the tread. These are rubber bars that sit lower than the raised tread and they run perpendicular to the tread. Once the tread is worn down to the same level as the bars, it's time for new tires. Check the wear on your tires regularly, such as once monthly or each time you get gas. If the tread isn't wearing evenly across the entire width of the tire, or if the wear is reaching the bars, take your car in for new tires and possibly an alignment.

Tip #3: Maintain your suspension system

Your car's suspension system can also strain your alignment. Old worn springs result in a car that no longer sits level. This causes it to pull the weight unevenly, thus affecting the alignment. Your suspension should be checked at the intervals listed in your owner's manual for your specific make and model of vehicle. However, if you notice that your car is listing to one side or riding low over one tire, you may want to have the suspension checked out before the recommended time.

Even with careful driving, your alignment will eventually require adjusting. This is because no road is perfectly flat and smooth. Having the tires rotated and balanced, along with an alignment, at regular intervals will ensure even tire wear and good alignment. This will then help extend the life of your car and the affected components, while also making your drive more comfortable and safe. For more information, visit an auto repair company, like East Carolina Automotive.