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How can I tell if my car needs an alignment?

Posted by tom zoebelein on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 @ 07:05 AM

Auto mechanic Bel Air, MD

As you’re driving around lately, have you noticed something peculiar about your car?  Does it feel as though something is wrong, but you can’t quite figure out what?  If you haven’t inspected your tires lately, it could be that you’re overdue for an alignment.  Proper tire care is essential for your vehicle, since they are the only parts of your car that actually make contact with the road.  When you treat them well, they will last you a significant amount of time. 

An alignment is an important part of your tire care program, because it maximizes your tire wear.  When your tires do not wear evenly, they will need to be replaced sooner.  In extreme cases, you could even put stress on your ball joints or your axles. 

Here’s how you can tell if your car is in need of an alignment:

·         Your car drifts to one side.  When you’re driving along, does your car pull or drift to one side?  A car that is aligned properly will drive easily in a straight line.  When it doesn’t, then you can be sure that you need an alignment.

·         Your tire wear is uneven.  Take a good look at your tires and see what kind of shape your tread is in.  Properly aligned tires wear evenly across the tire.  If you have more wear on one side or the other, then you need an alignment.

Auto mechanic Bel Air, MD

·         Your tires are not vertical.  Take several steps back from the rear of your vehicle and see if your tires appear vertical.  If the tops or the bottoms point in, then…yep, time for an alignment.

How often should I get an alignment?
The general rule of thumb is that you should have your tires aligned once a year and every time you have your tires replaced.  It’s not necessary to have them aligned every time you have your tires rotated, though.

What happens during a tire alignment?
The first thing we do when we align your tires is to check for any loose or worn steering and suspension components.  If any components look improper, they will need to be replaced prior to the alignment.  Next, we check your tire pressure to ensure they are all inflated to the proper PSI.  The third step is to pull your vehicle onto the alignment rack, where we’ll align your tires according to the proper specifications for your car.

Bel Air auto mechanic

If you ever need new tires, a tire rotation, or an alignment, be sure to bring your vehicle to Ward Automotive in Bel Air, Maryland.  We are a complete car care shop offering everything from routine maintenance to serious automotive repair,  engine work, and even autobody work through our sister company Bel Air Autobody.  We have proudly served our neighbors in Harford County for over 20 years, including Aberdeen, Bel Air, Burns Corner, Darlington, Edgewood, Fallston, Havre de Grace, Hickory Hills, Jarrettsville, Joppatowne, Perryman, Pleasant Hills, Pylesville, and Riverside.  At Bel Air Autobody and Ward Automotive, we are the one-stop shop for all of your auto repair needs.


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Topics: Auto Mechanic Abingdon, Auto Mechanic Edgewood, Auto mechanic Bel Air Maryland, tire maintenance, tire rotation, tire pressure, tire safety tips, tire replacement, tire repair, tire tread, tire wear, alignment, tire problems