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The Official H.Heaven Customer Information Site, where we post articles, alerts, customer repair status and everyday things that you can do to help make your car run better and last longer
HOW DO DRIVING CONDITIONS AFFECT MY VEHICLE'S WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
Bad roads can be your wheels' worst enemy. If you drive down poorly maintained roads, drive through pot holes, or even hit a curb, your alignment can be greatly affected.
This can cause even the slightest, tiniest alignment issue, which can accelerate uneven tire wear. Make sure you have your alignment checked every 6,000 miles or so. Your tires and your wallet will thank you later.
HOW WILL A WHEEL ALIGNMENT HELP MY VEHICLE?
Repeat after us: A wheel alignment ensures optimal drivability. It will help your tires last longer, your vehicle drive smoother, ultimately keeping your wheels pointed in the right direction. And, when it drives more smoothly, it's smooth sailing — or should we say cruising — ahead. Plus, your car will require less energy to keep going, potentially saving a ton of fuel depending on how much alignment was required.
When your car rolled off the manufacturer assembly line, it came preset with special angles that position your tires correctly. And for good reason. In order for your vehicle to travel the way it's supposed to, it will need precise alignment. Mis-alignment can lead to uneven tire wear, poor handling and shorter tire life. Tires are expensive. Keeping them aligned isn't.
ARE THERE ANY WARNING LIGHTS THAT INDICATE AN ALIGNMENT PROBLEM?
Nope. Sorry. Regular checkups are a good defense though.
WHAT DOES TIRE WEAR MEAN TO MY CAR'S ALIGNMENT?
The name of the poor alignment game is uneven tire wear. Ideally, tires should wear evenly across the tread. If you're noticing excessive wear on the rear inside tires, you may have too much junk in the trunk or need an alignment adjustment. Uneven tire wear can also result in less MPGs and more pain at the gas pump.
Quick Fact: Poor alignment can shorten a tire's life by thousands of miles and compromise very crucial steering and suspension parts. That's a big hit to the wallet. If you don't want to replace tires as often and enjoy the benefits of better fuel economy, have your alignment checked, at the very least, with every other oil change or at the first sign of uneven or premature tire wear.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY CAR'S ALIGNMENT IS OFF?
There are some noticeable signs that could indicate a misalignment. Just use your eyes, ears and hands. Your senses (and even the good old personal hunch) are good human capital for spotting poor alignment. Here are some common signs that you are dealing with wheels with poor alignment:
Quick Tip: If you are unsure about your current alignment, please give us a call. Tire misalignment can be so subtle, you may not even realize it. Luckily for your wheels, we have the precision equipment and expertise to check your alignment and fix it if needed.
WHAT ARE SOME MISALIGNMENT ISSUES I CAN REMEDY MYSELF?
Looks like we've got an avid problem solver in the house. Well, let's put your skills to work and do some solving. Even if everything feels right, and no symptoms are present, there are some more alignment issues that you can remedy yourself.
Try these out:
Remove junk from your trunk Alignment is based on tire angles, which go hand-in-hand with vehicle chassis height. If you have too much weight loading down your back end, that lowers your vehicle height, throwing off your alignment. Remove what you don't need, and make sure to have your alignment check since your alignment can't adjust itself.
Maintain correct air pressure in your tires
Embrace conservative driving. It will place less strain on steering and suspension components which are key to maintaining proper alignment.
What is a Wheel Alignment vs a Tire Alignment?
Tire alignment, also known as wheel alignment, can help your tires perform properly and help them last longer. It can also improve handling and keep your vehicle from pulling in one direction or vibrating strangely on the road.
Alignment refers to an adjustment of a vehicle's suspension – the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. It is not an adjustment of the tires or wheels themselves. The key to proper alignment is adjusting the angles of the tires which affects how they make contact with the road.
CAMBER, TOE, & CASTER
When our technician checks your tire alignment, they are mainly concerned with three things:
This is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, respectively, indicates improper alignment and will need to be adjusted. Worn bearings, ball joints, and other wheel-suspension parts may contribute to camber misalignment.
Distinct from camber alignment, toe alignment is the extent to which your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above. If that's confusing, just stand up and look down at your feet. Angle them inward toward the center of your body. When the tires on your car are angled the same way (remember, we're thinking in terms of birds-eye-view), we call this toe-in alignment. Angle your feet outward and you have toe-out alignment. Both require adjustment.
Your caster angle helps balance steering, stability, and cornering. Specifically, it's the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle. If you have positive caster, the steering axis will tilt toward the driver. Negative caster, on the other hand, means the steering axis tilts toward the front of your vehicle.
WHY TIRE ALIGNMENT MATTERS
Improper wheel or tire alignment can cause your tires to wear unevenly and prematurely. Here are some specific types of undue tread wear attributable to misalignment:
Tires are "feathered" when the tread is smooth on one side and sharp on another. This is usually a sign of poor toe alignment.
This strain of tread wear means the inside or outside of the tread is significantly more worn than the center of the tread. As its name implies, positive or negative camber causes this type of wear.
This happens when one side of your tread blocks wears down more quickly than the other in a circumferential direction. When you run your hand over the tread, it will look and feel like saw teeth when viewed from the side. Heel/toe wear could be a sign of under inflation and/or lack of rotation.
If you're experiencing any of these unusual wear patterns, you should have a technician check your alignment. While tire wear prevention is a good reason to keep your wheel alignment in check, the consequences of misalignment can also play out in overall vehicle performance. A car that pulls to one side or steers erratically, for example, probably has an alignment problem.
Distinct from tire alignment, tire or wheel balancing refers to compensation for any weight imbalances in the tire/wheel combination and is often performed in conjunction with wheel alignment. There are two basic types of tire/wheel imbalance that need correction – static (single plane) and dynamic (dual plane).
Static balance addresses balance on only one plane – vertical movement which can cause vibration. A dynamic imbalance, on the other hand, addresses balance in two planes – vertical movement and lateral movement . Both types of imbalance require the use of a special balancing machine to help even things out.
To begin balancing your tires, a technician will mount them on the correct rims and adjust the pressure to optimal inflation. Then each tire goes on the center bore of a balancing machine. The machine spins the tire at a high speed to measure the wheel/tire combination imbalance. It signals how much weight the tech should add to balance out the tire and the areas where said weight is needed.
Tire balancing is essential for proper tire care for the same reason as wheel alignment: prevention of premature tread wear. Having tires aligned and balanced every 5,000 to 6,000 miles can help maximize their lifespan and overall performance.
H.Heaven Automotive is conveniently located in central Huntington Beach, just minutes from the 405 Freeway. We proudly repair all makes and models of vehicles. If you require a car repair in Huntington Beach, come to H.Heaven. For expert Automotive repair while in Huntington Beach call H.Heaven at (714) 841-1949 . Call us today or make an appointment now by clicking below. All repairs have a 3yr/36k mile warranty!