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Alignment

Straight Ahead (Wheel Alignment)

Feb 14, 2021

If every road was straight and smooth, we wouldn't have to worry much about wheel alignment. But they're not, so we do.  Hitting potholes or driving on rough pavement can knock your vehicle out of alignment and you'll notice it in one of several ways.

Your steering wheel may not be centered when you're driving straight ahead, or your vehicle may pull to one side.  You may find your tires wearing on one side or they may squeal.  All are signs that could point to you needing an alignment.

Your wheels should be perpendicular to the road and parallel with each other.  If not, your tires will wear out faster and your vehicle won't go straight on a level straightaway.

In alignment, there are several factors that must be checked.  One is camber.  Your wheels should be straight up and down if you look at them from the front. If not, you'll wear your tires unevenly on one side.

Another factor is caster, the angle of the steering pivot.  Most vehicles have what's called positive caster, when the top of the steering pivot leans toward the rear.  Proper caster balances steering effort, stability on the highway and cornering.

You may have heard the term "toe" in reference to your wheels.  If you looked at your front wheels from straight above, for example, imagine your wheels were your feet.  If you were to turn your toes in toward each other, that would be toeing in.  The toe of your vehicle should be set to manufacturer's specifications so your vehicle handles well and doesn't prematurely wear out tires.

It's a good idea to have your alignment checked periodically since it can get knocked out by one hard knock or a lot of little knocks.  It's not just about tire wear, it's about ride comfort and safe handling. You may say a vehicle aligned just feels divine.


The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Why Alignment Matters (Vehicle Alignment Maintenance)

Mar 08, 2020

It's one of those things that can happen on a multi-day road adventure or a quick trip to the grocery store.  You hit a pothole, go too fast over a speed bump, nail a curb.  When it happens, you think, "I wonder if that was hard enough to do any damage?"  But things seem ok and you continue on your way. 

Keep in mind that any blow to your vehicle's suspension can throw it out of alignment.  It can be a hard knock from the road or from another vehicle, such as being involved in a minor accident.  When your suspension is out of alignment, it means that the wheels aren't all pointing where they should.  And after a while, it can make your tires wear unevenly and cause problems with steering and handling.

Let's go back to that pothole or curb you hit hard.  Even though you think there was no damage done, if you wait until you see tire wear, you may need to replace all four tires, not an inexpensive proposition.

That's why it's a good idea to make sure your alignment is regularly checked by a qualified technician. If you get regular oil changes (a MUST!), consider having an alignment check while your vehicle is in.  That's especially important if you drive roads that resemble the lunar surface.  If you buy new tires, it's also strongly recommended that you have your alignment checked. 

You can have your front wheels aligned or all four, and if your vehicle is newer, it's not a bad idea to spend a little extra for the four-wheel alignment check.  Good alignment pays off with better steering and handling, less tire wear and—BONUS—better fuel economy since aligned wheels offer less resistance when they roll on the road.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



A Not-So-Straight Story (Vehicle Pulls to One Side)

Aug 21, 2019

A vehicle should travel straight down a straight road with the steering wheel centered.  But time and travel can take their toll and soon you may find your vehicle pulling to the left or right.  Those are not good signs and should be taken care of fairly quickly.

One thing that you should note is when this is happening: if it is all the time, only when you brake, only when you accelerate. If you describe these symptoms to the service adviser or technician, it may help them pinpoint the cause more quickly. 

Many things can cause a vehicle to pull to one side, one of which is that it's out of alignment.  If so, you could be doing damage to other components of your vehicle if you keep driving with it this way. If your tires show signs of uneven wear on the treads or if your wheels squealing, that is another clue.

Improperly inflated tires can also cause your vehicle to pull in one direction.  Your service facility can check to see if your tires have the pressure recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer. 

When steering linkage wears out or a wheel bearing goes bad, both of those can cause a vehicle not to track straight. When components age and loosen up, they can present a safety hazard and premature tire wearing. 

Maybe you notice the pulling only when you are braking.  That points to a failure of your braking system, perhaps a sticky brake caliper.

When your vehicle was brand new, it went straight unless you guided it on a different path. It's best to have it checked out if it is showing some of these symptoms.  It could save you money in the long run and you'll be driving a safer, better performing vehicle.  That's what they mean by steering you right!

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Alignment Inspection

Jan 22, 2017

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Lancaster drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.

When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will inspect your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He?ll also compare your current alignment with the vehicle manufacturer?s settings.

Your vehicle owner?s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in a crash, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Lancaster, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor perform an important alignment check.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Tracking True in Lancaster: Wheel Alignment

Apr 10, 2016

At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley, we occasionally see severe tire damage that could have been prevented with proper wheel alignment. During a The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley alignment service, your vehicle is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are inspected for problems. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the vehicle factory settings. Adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels moving in precisely the same direction.

If you don't remember hitting a pothole, how do you know if your wheels are out? The most obvious sign is that your vehicle pulls to one side. Also, your steering wheel may not be centered when you're going straight. If you're in the habit of checking your tire wear regularly, you may notice the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down. You should have your Lancaster auto service center look it over. Of course, if you've been in an accident, you should get your alignment checked.

It's not surprising that a forceful impact can seriously knock tires out, but remember that a series of smaller ones can add up. That's why your vehicle manufacturer recommends periodic alignment checks. If your vehicle owner's manual doesn't advise a specific interval, once a year might be appropriate. Check with your The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley service advisor. As with most other preventive maintenance services, the cost of the alignment is a heck of a lot cheaper than having to purchase new tires earlier than expected.


Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Causes of Wheel Misalignment

Dec 11, 2015

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Lancaster drivers often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like a major crash, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object. While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Lancaster driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well. Your car can lose alignment over time with just normal driving.

When your wheels are out of alignment, the team of automotive professionals at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can return your wheels to the factory settings. Most owners’ manuals suggest an inspection every year or two.

Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Automotive Tips from The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley: Signs of an Alignment Problem

Sep 23, 2015

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Lancaster drivers often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object.

While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Lancaster driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

In addition, your vehicle can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster can return your wheels to the vehicle manufacturer’s factory settings. Most owner's manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com

 



Line Them Up: Wheel Alignment Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley

Nov 27, 2014

Hello Lancaster! Let's talk about alignment. One of the most important parts of preventive maintenance for your vehicle is keeping the wheels in alignment. Poor alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly, which can significantly reduce their lifespan. This means you will have to replace them more often, which can be costly for drivers in Lancaster.

It can even damage your suspension system, which is costly to repair. But even more importantly, uneven tread wear can lead to blowouts on the road, a dangerous and potentially deadly safety risk for Lancaster drivers and their passengers.

It may not take an accident or bad driving habits to “knock” your tires out of alignment. Tires can go out of alignment with just everyday California driving. Lancaster road hazards, pot holes, uneven or gravel roads, and even the bumps and bounces of normal Lancaster roads and surface streets can gradually put your vehicle tires out of alignment.

So it's good auto advice to have your vehicle's alignment inspected periodically. Your vehicle's owner's manual will have recommendations on how often you should get an alignment check: usually every year or two. But if you think your vehicle tires might be out of alignment, you should bring your vehicle into The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley now.

When you bring your vehicle in for an alignment, your technician at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley will start by inspecting the steering and suspension systems. If something is broken or damaged there, it will need to be fixed in order to get good alignment of the wheels.

If all looks good in the steering and suspension departments, the vehicle will then be put on an alignment rack where an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels can then be aligned to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications. The ideal alignment for any vehicle is set by its engineers and may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

There are three types of adjustments that may have to be made to correctly align a vehicle's tires. The first is called “toe.” This refers to tires that are out of alignment because they point inward or outward at the front of the tire. Think of a person who is pigeon-toed or splay-footed, and you get the idea.

The second adjustment is the camber. This adjustment affects the angle at which the tires meet the road. Think of a solid building in contrast to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

The last adjustment is the castor. This adjustment measures the angle of the tire in relation to the front axles. So, a piece of auto advice that just might be good for life as well: keep everything in alignment, and you'll be able to steer where you want to go. Drive safely.

 The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com



Straight and True in Lancaster: Wheel Alignment

Aug 05, 2014

Most Lancaster folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by drivers in Lancaster is a periodic alignment inspection.

Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in Lancaster. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Lancaster.

Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents and can seriously damage your vehicle. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident since the vehicle may not steer properly.

One or more wheels on your vehicle can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Lancaster street. An accident —  even a minor one — that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.

If you have had wheel damage to your vehicle, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any service center will give you that piece of auto advice. But good vehicle care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley in Lancaster, we can take care of that for you.

Your owner's manual or The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn't, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot — and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot — then you may want to consider alignment more often. Ask the pros at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley for a recommendation.

If your vehicle is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your vehicle pulls to one side when you drive around Lancaster. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.

Lancaster drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.

When you get an alignment inspection, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.

This may seem like a lot of bother for drivers, but it's a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Lancaster residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com

 



All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley

Apr 30, 2013

When all of your vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Lancaster can cause your vehicle's wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time around Lancaster when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded California highway. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

The ideal alignment for your vehicle was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything's bent or broken. Then your friendly and knowledgeable The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to vehicle’s specifications.

Your vehicle owner's manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

The Car Doctors of the Antelope Valley
226 West Avenue I
Lancaster, California 93534
661-949-8484
http://cardoctorsav.autovideotipsblog.com




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