Let’s Get This Straight: Myths about Aligning Your Car Tyres
Your current wheel alignment regime may be dangerous and costly
When it comes to getting the longest life out of your tyres and making sure your vehicle is safe, wheel alignment is not something to be ignored. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there on when your wheels need to be aligned. The most common myth is that ‘you only need to align your wheels when you change your tyres’.
What is wheel alignment?
A wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angle of the wheels on your vehicle to ensure your wheels are straight. This reduces tyre wear and makes your vehicle safer.
Why do you need to align your wheels?
Wheel alignments should be a standard part of your vehicle maintenance. Even if your vehicle is tracking as straight as an arrow, it’s a good idea to get your alignments checked regularly. While tyres often only need to be replaced after every 50,000 kilometres or more, wheels should be realigned more often to reduce uneven tread wear and improve the life of your tyres.
If you are experiencing any of the following problems, you should get your vehicle wheel alignment checked immediately:
- Uneven wear on your tyres
- Steering is pulling to either the right or the left
- Your steering wheel is not aligned to the centre when driving straight
- Steering wheel vibration
If you have your wheels aligned only when you change your tyres, it will cost you. Your tyres will not last as long and your vehicle will be more dangerous to drive.
Sometimes it is difficult to notice small inconsistencies in your vehicles tracking. Your vehicle may pull; to one side only slightly. However, if this goes unnoticed it will get progressively worse and cause uneven tread wear on your tyres. By having a regular wheel alignment, you ensure that your vehicle always drives straight. The tyre technician will solve problems before they become serious.
What causes wheels to become misaligned?
There are many things that could knock your wheels out of alignment. Here are the three most common:
· Road hazards
Unfortunately, road maintenance is an issue in Queensland. The chances are you are going to hit a pothole (or seven). Driving through potholes, hitting other road hazards, or bumping the curb can all cause poor wheel alignment.
· Tyre wear and tear
Tyres are not indestructible. If taken care of properly your tyres can last a long time, but some wear and tear is inevitable. Over time, tyre rubber will crack and lose elasticity. The alignment of your wheels will start to come off centre.
· Minor accidents
Almost one in five Australian motorists have been involved in a road accident of some kind in the past five years. Many are minor accidents, with little or no notable damage. The motorist believes there is mothing wrong. However, no matter how minor an accident it is still possible to knock your vehicle’s wheel alignment off. If you are involved in an accident, no matter how trivial, you should always have it checked over.
What the experts say
Most tyre and vehicle manufacturers recommend similar maintenance for your wheel alignments. Bridgestone’s advice is typical of that from tyre manufacturers:
“You should perform a wheel alignment at least once a year, every time you rotate your tyres, or at every 10,000 km interval.”
Compare this to when most motorists get their wheel alignment checked: only when they change their tyres. That’s around once every 50,000 kilometres – or five times as long as recommended.
If your doctor gave you a prescription for medication to be taken every day, would you do your own thing and take it only once every five days? I didn’t think so. Get your wheel alignment checked every 10,000 kilometres.
Is your steering pulling, or your steering wheel vibrating? Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.
Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,