Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Wheel Alignment Benefits Your Entire Car

Everyone knows that a wheel alignment, also called tracking, extends the life of your tires, but it is also incredibly beneficial to several parts of your car. By adjusting the angle your tires hit the ground, you can positively affect your vehicle's axles, suspension, steering, and even fuel economy. The next time you want to put off having your vehicle properly tracked, consider these other systems that are affected by that little "pull."


When the tires of your vehicle haven't been properly tracked, you begin putting pressure on other systems in your car in order to keep the car straight. This most heavily affects the steering. When a tire is angled incorrectly, your car begins to "pull" to the left or the right. To compensate for this change in direction, you steer towards the left or right. Over the life of the vehicle, this minor annoyance wears down your vehicle's steering column. It also causes "play," or give, in the steering, which can become worse the more you drive.

Fuel Economy

When your tires are not properly straightened, the weight of your car is not evenly distributed on the road. Often, your axles will push together, making your car experience more rolling resistance with the pavement. More of the tread makes contact with the ground, meaning your engine has to work harder and use more fuel in order to keep you and your vehicle moving forward. Angling the tires correctly reduces the friction from the road surface, resulting in a smoother ride and fewer stops at the gas pump.


For vehicles with brake pads, the brakes work by applying the pad to the surface of the tire. Brakes work better when they have more surface area in contact with the tread. With a vehicle that needs a wheel alignment, one or both tires are angled away from the brake pads. This causes the brake pads to be less effective, which increases stopping time and distance.


Because the weight of your car isn't evenly distributed over the tires, the suspension starts to carry some of the extra weight. Shocks and struts simply aren't designed to handle that weight constantly. Tires that are tracked do their fair share to support the weight of you and your car, allowing the struts and shocks to come into play only when necessary.

A wheel alignment is rarely the focus of any maintenance done to your vehicle. It is often offered with an oil change or inspection as part of a maintenance package. But making sure your tires are tracked can benefit the rest of the car and, in turn, you.

When considering wheel alignment, Fresno, CA residents visit Ray's Blackstone Tire. Learn more at
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