Auto Repair & Services
- Air Filters
- Steering & Suspension
- Tire Balancing
- Tire Installation
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- Transmission Fluid Flush
- Automotive Tune-up
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When your car leaves the factory, the wheels are set at specific angles in relation to each other, and to the car’s frame and suspension. Engineers designed those angles for the best handling, steering response and ride quality possible. Over time and with enough miles, normal wear and tear will cause the suspension and steering components to gradually drift away from those alignment specs. Once a car’s steering is far enough out of spec, it will start to wear tires prematurely and will show drivability and handling problems.
Why Are Wheel Alignments Important?
There are four crucial alignment angles:
- Toe-in, where the wheel is angled inward to the left or right
- Toe-out, where the wheel is angled outward to the left or right
- Caster, where the wheel is positioned forward or backward versus where it should be according to spec
- Camber, the inward or outward angle of the top of the wheel
If any of these angles are excessive, the wheel tries to steer the car in another direction. This causes drag and excess friction that “scrubs” the tread off of an inner or outer edge of the tire in an uneven pattern. That excess drag also consumes more fuel as it takes more energy to move the vehicle in a straight line down the road.
What Are Signs That I Need Wheel Alignment?
- Uneven wear along an inside or outside edge of tire
- Steering that feels clumsy or “heavy”
- Steering wheel won’t center itself readily after negotiating a turn
- Persistent pull to one side or the other…on flat, straight non-crowned pavement, it’s necessary to hold the steering wheel off-center to keep the vehicle pointed in a straight line
- Tires squeal even while turning slowly
Four Wheel Alignments
Most newer vehicles are designed with adjustable rear suspensions; four-wheel alignments ensure that the front tires are positioned completely square with the rear tires. Four-wheel alignments are more expensive, but they pay off in improved handling and drivability.
Wheel alignments are performed on an alignment rack, a sophisticated piece of equipment that measures and analyzes all the critical angles of the wheels, and lets the technician make fine adjustments to bring the vehicle back into spec again. A vehicle with many miles on it or lots of hard use may have worn or damaged suspension and steering parts. In those cases, alignments may be needed more frequently or parts may need to be replaced altogether.
Have you noticed your vehicle pulling to one side or another? Have you recently had a hard hit on a curb or pothole? Are your tires wearing unevenly? Give us a call at Chabill’s Tire & Auto Service in Baton Rouge, LA and let our technicians put your vehicle on the alignment rack.