Vehicle Maintenance when to get a Wheel Alignment

A wheel alignment should be a part of any basic maintenance plan on your vehicle, just like an oil change or tire rotation.  In short, the wheel alignment should be check and corrected on a regular basis; the most convenient and logical time is to have this done is when the tires are being rotated. Since the tires shop or garage that does tire rotations is likely to have an alignment machine. Most auto technicians would recommend an alignment check and any adjustment be done around every 5000 to 6000 miles under normal condition.  A proper alignment on your car will prevent premature and uneven tire wear and misalignment pull depending on the severity of the pull could be a safety factor as well.

However there are times would a wheel alignment should be check and performed more often.

First, if any repairs or other maintenance like a brake job or the replacement of shocks or struts is done on the front end or suspension of the vehicle, a wheel alignment should be performed as a matter of course.

Second, if you drive over railroad tracks, speed bumps or other rough road condition, including road repair sites with uneven pavement.  If rough places or conditions like these is a regular part of your commute than perhaps you should increase the frequency of the alignment checks every 3000 miles or so.

Third, if the car suffers a blow to the front end such as dropping into a moderately deep pothole or even a minor fender bender would be cause to at least have the alignment checked and corrected if needed.

Fourth, if you notice uneven wear on your tires. Especially if the wear is on the inside or outside edge of the tires or is happening in a ‘saw-toothed’ manner, that is to say that one tread block is high and the next one is worn low.

Fifth, any moderate to severe pull of the car, particularly to the left, into oncoming traffic. Most cars’ alignments are set to drift slightly to the right, as a safety feature so a car if not controlled will go off the road and not into traffic. Also engineered cant of the roadway is to the right to allow for drainage and as an additional safety feature.

A good wheel alignment will check and adjust toe, camber and castor setting. A properly aligned car will not wear tires prematurely or unevenly, will drift slightly right and will handle smoothly.

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