What You Should Know About Wheel Alignments

What They Are?

Wheel alignments are the procedure of adjusting and maintaining the angles of the wheels relative to both each other and the car’s frame/body. This is achieved by first driving the car onto the Alignment Hoist, where sensors are placed onto each wheel. Using these sensors a computer measures the angles of the wheels, this allows the technician to compare the measurements and see how they sit in relation to the car’s body. From here the technician can adjust the angles of the wheels so that they meet the correct specifications. 

Why do You Need it?

It’s important to have wheel alignments done to your car because over the life of your car it’s inevitable that the wheel angels will change. This can happen for several reasons from hitting large potholes or curbs, going over speed bumps too quickly, and even accidents. These will result in wear and tear on rubber bushings in the suspension and potentially the sagging of springs. You may also need a wheel alignment if you’ve recently replaced the suspension and/or steering components, as well as after raising or lowering the suspension.

Symptoms 

The symptoms of an irregular wheel alignment are as follows:

  • Your car feels as though it pulls to one side when driving on a straight and flat road.
  • You find that the tyres are wearing unevenly. 
  • When driving straight the steering wheel is not centered
  • When driving the car wanders from side to side and/or feels unstable

Understanding What ACTUALLY Gets Done On Your Car Service

So, it’s time for your next car service? You might be wondering what the difference is between a minor, major, and interim service is, why some service centres are more expensive than others, and what the mechanic actually does each service. We’ve compiled a very simple guide for you to understand everything you need to know about car services.

Minor, major & interim

In your service logbook, you will likely see that your manufacturer has included services in between the mandatory scheduled service slots. These are called interim services and they would usually be performed if the vehicle has been driven regularly under harsh conditions, for example, driving off-road, towing, or racing. In this service, the engine oil and engine oil filter would be replaced as well as anything else that the driver knows needs immediate attention and cannot wait until the next scheduled service.

minor, basic or general service generally includes replacing the engine oil and engine oil filter. Aside from any other parts you and your mechanic discuss and agree upon replacing prior to the service, these should be the only parts used in this service. Minor services should also consist of a safety inspection under the body and under the bonnet. Other basic things will be checked such as the fluid levels, the brakes, tyres, and the lights.

major service is determined by your car manufacturer based on time or a certain mileage. Once your car reaches this time or mileage it is due for a major service where something ‘major’ like perhaps a timing belt or differential and transfer case fluid is changed. These types of replacements are not as regular as other things like a fuel filter or a coolant change. This obviously requires more time to perform the service and extra tasks involved so it’s best to speak with your mechanic about what’s involved and get a rough estimate of the total price. 

Ultimately it is best to follow your manufacturer’s scheduled services in the service logbook but also stay vigilant at monitoring your car for any warning signs that it needs an interim service.