You find yourself driving down a straight road and you notice that your car keeps pulling to one side. Hopefully you arrive at the conclusion that you aren’t, in fact, a bad driver and that it must be something with your car. While your vehicle pulling to the left or right could be a sign of a bad wheel bearing, worn out suspension or steering parts, or uneven tire pressure, it is much more likely that your wheels are misaligned.
Ensuring your wheels are properly aligned is the most important aspect of wheel and tire maintenance. Wheel alignments are imperative to keeping your tires angled correctly—level with the ground, pointing straight ahead, and parallel to each other. Proper alignment makes your vehicle considerably easier to handle, but more importantly it maximizes the life of your tires.
There are three angles important in proper wheel alignment:
- - Toe: The toe is the measurement between tires. Your tires should be equally positioned and parallel to one another.
- - Caster: The caster is the angle of the steering pivot, which is the component that permits the wheels to turn the steering wheel.
- - Camber: The camber is the angle of the wheel, which should be perpendicular to the ground.
Four-wheel alignments are an essential part of auto maintenance, particularly for vehicles that have front-wheel drive. Improper wheel alignment can occur as a result of a car accident, running into a curb, or hitting a pothole (or driving on I-84 in general!). Proper alignment extends the life of your tires by ensuring even tread wear, improves safety by allowing easy vehicle handling, and increases fuel efficiency because properly aligned wheels offer considerably less rolling resistance.
To get the best performance from your vehicle, we recommend having an auto repair technician assess your wheel alignment if you begin to experience alignment-related problems such as your car pulling to the left or right when you drive. At Wilton Auto and Tire Center, we continue to champion regular preventative maintenance for all vehicles which allows our mechanics an opportunity to observe any wheel misalignment and recommend a wheel alignment service before you experience any negative effects on your vehicle.