wheel alignment penticton BC

What is a Wheel Alignment? 


A wheel alignment, as the name suggests, involves re-aligning the wheels of a car or truck to match the original angle specified by the manufacturer. The process itself consists of adjusting the suspension, axles, and wheels so that each wheel is squared properly and tracking smoothly in the same direction. 

If you own a front-wheel drive car, your service mechanic may use the term “front end alignment.” With few exceptions, front-wheel drive cars only require realignment of the front wheels. This is in contrast to four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive cars needing adjustments on all four wheels during a standard alignment.  

Don’t be surprised, however, if your mechanic recommends a four-wheel alignment for a front-wheel drive car that has adjustable suspension in the rear. It's worth the time to get all four wheels checked out to be on the safe side. 

You may be able to have an alignment done within an hour or two while you wait. Ask ahead of time so you can get an idea of how long your car’s service appointment will take. While you’re there, scope out any current service specials that can help you save money while you keep your car in top shape.  
 

Why should wheel alignments be part of your regularly scheduled maintenance? 

When you drive on uneven roads, bounce over potholes, or hit curb edges, your wheels get knocked out of alignment.  
 
ford fusion city driving
ford truck in river
It might happen gradually from months of commuting on potholed city pavement...
...or all at once with a rough smack into a mud-covered boulder that came out of nowhere.


Either way, misalignment can spell trouble for you and your car.  

Misaligned wheels lead to uneven wear on your tires. This impacts the performance and handling of your car, and it also means you’ll have to pay for more frequent tire replacements.  

Wheel misalignment is also a safety hazard. Many people don’t know their cars need service until they start to feel an unnerving shudder or a pull to one side as they drive at moderate speeds. By this point, your car’s handling has been impacted enough that it’s no longer safe to drive. 

Not only that, but every mile you travel could be doing costly damage to your tires or suspension. 

Ideally, take your car in for regularly scheduled alignments to prevent these issues from appearing, rather than as a treatment for problems that have already happened. It’s safer for you, your car, and your wallet if you add wheel alignments to your regularly scheduled maintenance program.  
 

How often should you schedule a wheel alignment? 

Keep in mind, there are no dashboard warning lights that indicate when your wheels have fallen out of alignment. And by the time you notice something wrong, some damage will have already been done.  

It’s good practice to have an alignment performed every 2 to 3 years or 6000 miles even if you don’t notice any of the symptoms of misalignment. 
 

What are the signs that your car needs an alignment ASAP? 

If you have begun to notice something doesn’t feel right, scheduling prompt service is imperative. If your car shudders, shakes, or otherwise handles poorly, bring it in immediately.  

You can also examine your tires for uneven patterns of tread wear that would indicate your wheels aren’t tracking in the same direction. Chances are, you’ll notice your gas mileage dropping as this wear gets worse over time. If you find yourself stopping for fuel more frequently than you’d like, check out the depth of your tire tread over different parts of your tires. If the inside or the outside of one or more of your tires looks more worn than the rest of the contact surface, misaligned wheels are likely the culprit.  

Perhaps the most classic telltale sign that your car is overdue for an alignment is if you feel a pull to one side or the other even when your steering wheel is straight. Or, you’ll notice that your steering wheel looks canted to one side when you’re driving down a pin-straight road. When you’re trying to drive in a straight line but your car insists otherwise, it’s time to contact your local service department in Penticton, BC and book an appointment. 

Keep in mind that stability control features, lane departure sensors, and other safety aspects may be affected both by misaligned wheels or improperly performed wheel alignments. That’s why it’s best to have your wheel alignments done by qualified mechanics at a service department you trust. 

 Call us at (250) 492-3800 to schedule your wheel alignment today.