You know that feeling when you have to buy new tyres because a narrow region of the tread is worn? Sickening right? You know that there is so much more on that tyre, but it’s wasted because of a patch that is too low on tread. Worst still, you often have to change the other side as well, even though it has some life left. So a small region of worn tyre means you throw away a lot of very good, and expensive tyre life. This is why wheel alignment is so important
There are a number of reasons that this can occur:
– you might have a lot of roundabouts on your routes
– loading up the edge of your tyres on one side of the car
– your tyre(s) might be badly inflated causing local areas to rub more on the ground
– your wheels might simply not be pointing in the same direction.
To look after your tyres, you could slow down around roundabouts. Check your tyre pressures more frequently, but what about making sure the wheels all point in the same direction?
It sounds sensible because it is! Having wheels all pointing in the same direction reduces their drag, so it reduces the tyre wear – so you get more life and value from your tyres. It also improves your fuel consumption, by between 7% and 10% compared to cars with misaligned wheels.
You might think that all of your wheels are pointing in the same direction. I mean, why wouldn’t they be? Well, there are many reasons why wheels can start off aligned but become misaligned. Such as driving on rough roads with potholes and the general wear and tear of the suspension. So, you might have brought a car with good alignment, but that doesn’t last forever.
2 against 4
In order to reset your alignment, you need to do a 4 wheel alignment check at a garage using specialist equipment for the task. This will align all of your wheels correctly. Don’t be fooled into thinking that 2 wheel alignment is “half as good” because it’s not. In fact, 2 wheel alignment can be practically useless in improving tyre wear and tyre life because the front wheels can still end up misaligned to the rear and you will get no benefit.
So next time you get new tyres fitted or an annual service carried out, why not get a 4 wheel alignment done at the same time? You will most likely find that your tyre wear and tyre life improves. So you replace them less frequently, and you save money on fuel bills. It pays for itself, every time.
Oh, and for those of us who value good handling, 4 wheel alignment will ensure the car is more balanced, doesn’t pull on the steering wheel and is more responsive to steering inputs. This is, after all, how the car was designed to be and a 4 wheel alignment puts everything back where it should be.