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auto maintenance January 10, 2018

How to Tell When Your Car Needs a Car Alignment in Burke, VA

Having a car alignment in Burke, VA can help your tires perform properly and last longer. It will also improve handling and keep your vehicle from pulling to the left or right or vibrating when driving on the road.

What is a Car Alignment?

A car alignment is the adjustment of your vehicle’s suspension system. Your vehicle’s suspension system connects your vehicle to its wheels. It is not an adjustment of your tires and wheels; it is an adjustment to the angles of the tires and how they make contact with the road.

Does Your Vehicle Need a Car Alignment?

If you experience any of these problems with your vehicle, you might need a car alignment.

  • Tread is wearing unevenly
  • The vehicle is pulling to one side or the other
  • Vibration in steering wheel

If your vehicle is out of alignment and pulling to one side, you constantly have to steer it back straight. This causes the outside of your tires to wear out faster because you are constantly turning and fighting to keep your vehicle going straight down the road in Burke, VA.

What Can Affect your Car’s Alignment?

  • Running over potholes in the road
  • Hitting curbs when parking
  • Installing new tires on vehicle
  • An accident involving hitting another vehicle or physical barrier
  • Regular bumps driving that eventually take your car out of alignment

Specific Types of Tread Wear from Misalignment

  • Feathering—Tires become feathered when the tread is smooth on one side and sharp on another side.
  • Camber Wear—Tires wear on the inside or outside significantly more than the center of the tread.
  • Heel/Toe Wear—Tire tread block wears down faster on one side than another side in a circumferential direction. When you run your hand over the tread, it feels like saw teeth.

What Happens During a Car Alignment?

Your mechanic will check mainly three things during the alignment in Burke, VA.

  • Camber—This is the inward or outward angle of your tire when viewed from the front of your vehicle. If your tires tilt too much either inward or outward, also known as negative and positive camber, it will need to be adjusted. Bearings, balls joints or other wheel suspension parts that are worn could contribute to camber misalignment.
  • Toe—This is when your tires either turn inward or outward when viewing from above. Look at your feet. If you angle them inward toward each other and your tires are inward like your feet, this is called toe-in alignment. Facing outward and you have toe-out alignment. Both would require adjusting by your mechanic in Burke, VA.
  • Caster—The caster angle is what helps balance steering, stability, and cornering. Viewing from the side of your vehicle, if you have a positive caster, the steering axis will tilt toward the driver whereas a negative caster tilts toward the front of your vehicle.

If you are experiencing any problems such as excessive wear on your tires, your steering wheel vibrating, or your vehicle pulling in one direction while driving, take your vehicle to an ASE-certified mechanic for a car alignment in Burke, VA.

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