Wheel Alignment

What is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment, sometimes called breaking or tracking, refers to standard adjustment of suspension system connecting the vehicle to its wheels.

Why is Wheel Alignment Important?

Wheel alignment is part of standard vehicle maintenance consisting of adjusting the angles of the wheels so they are set to the manufacturer’s exact specification.  The purpose of these adjustments is to reduce tire wear, and to ensure that the vehicle travels straight and consistent, without pulling to one side.  Alignment angles can also be altered beyond the maker’s specifications to obtain a specific handling characteristic.  All new vehicles leave the factory with the alignment checked and adjusted.  It is advisable to have your car’s alignment checked after the first 3,000 miles, since all the suspension gets set.  Failure to do so may result in the camber and toe specifications drifting outside the manufacturer’s limit, leading to vehicle pulling and tire wear.

If your vehicle drives as straight as an arrow, your wheels are most likely properly aligned.  However, it is a good idea to have your alignment checked annually, such as when you have your tires rotated.  Improper alignment can cause uneven wear on your tires, which can lead your tires wearing down faster and not handling as well as they should when properly aligned. Without proper alignment, you could have a difficult time maintaining control of your vehicle when driving.  Wheel alignment is important for overall vehicle safety but also for maintaining and extending the life of your tires, the braking system, and the overall good condition of your vehicle.

If your car drifts to one side and you have to turn the steering wheel away from the center position to drive straight, it is a good indication that your wheels are out of alignment.  Often, this can result from hitting a deep pothole or a curb when parking.

Wheels vibration can also be a sign of an alignment problem. For example, when suspension parts become worn.  Some vehicles require only that the front wheels be aligned, but many car-based models require four-wheel alignment.  Alignment specifications differ by vehicle, and it isn’t as simple as just making sure all four wheels are pointed straight ahead, so be sure to have an experience tire technician perform your alignment service.

Depending on the vehicle, proper alignment involves setting the camber (inward or outward tilt of the wheels when looking head on), caster (wheel tilt front or back looking from the side) and toe-in or toe-out (looking down at the wheels from above). The adjustments are measured in fractions of an inch and require specialized alignment equipment.

Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers is your best choice for wheel alignments.  Each of the 43 convenient Dobbs store locations is equipped with the latest computerized technology to ensure your wheels are precisely balanced and aligned.  And, Dobbs’ staff of experienced tire technicians is courteous and professional and committed to providing you with same day service, using only the highest quality products, at the most competitive price in town.  Best of all, as a locally owned and family owned company since 1976, at Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers, you have the assurance of knowing that the Dobbs Associates will get the job done right the first time – and stand by their work.