I’ve been getting into doing more running in the past few years and am currently preparing for my second Oxford Half Marathon. As I started to increase my running again over the summer I bought a new pair of trainers. The chap in the shop noticed that my old trainers had an unusual wear pattern.
The outside of my right heel was almost completely scuffed smooth but the left barely had a mark on it! He suggested that it might be worth a trip to the chiropractor to see if something was out of alignment that was making me run a bit wonky.
I took his advice and a week later I was being bent into the shape of a Pretzel while a grown man jumped up and down on me. Disconcerting though it may have been, it was remarkably satisfying when I felt things clunk and click into position.
As I drove home it got me thinking about the similarities between our bodies and our cars.
Just as our hips and back can get knocked out of alignment through daily wear and tear, so too can our cars’ wheels. We all know that tyres wear out and that we need to check them regularly. But if you put new tyres onto a car with out of whack alignment, it’s not going to take them long to wear out again.
What Is A Wheel Alignment Check?
A wheel alignment check makes sure that your wheels are straight and level. Also known as a "tracking" check, it uses very precise measurements to check all your wheels, and make sure that they are perfectly positioned to the car manufacturer's original specification. Wheels are very finely aligned to each other and to the car body, so it's essential to keep them in good balance.
What are the Benefits of a Wheel Alignment Check?
Considering it's such a quick and easy check, a wheel alignment check brings a number of benefits to your driving experience, your safety is the first. It reduces your tyre wear and can give you up to 12000 miles extra from a set of tyres. Keeping your wheels as straight as possible also protects your suspension and steering system, and reduces the rolling resistance of your wheels, giving you better fuel economy. It reduces the noise inside the car, and reduces veering or pulling to either side to make driving your car less effort. It also makes sure that your steering and suspension systems stay in good working order for longer.
What Causes Poor Wheel Alignment?
There are a number of factors that could knock your wheels out of alignment. Our wonderful Great British roads are well known for uneven surfaces and potholes, and it only takes bumping through one pothole to cause you a problem. Bumping up a kerb or catching a speed bump wrong can also serve to misalign your wheels. Imperfections or damage in wheels and tyres could have an effect, as well as damaged or worn steering or suspension components.
How Can I Tell If I Need My Wheel Alignment Checked?
There are many indications to look out for, which may be warning signs that your wheels need re-alignment. Just like my trainers, uneven wear on your tyres - particularly on the inner or outer edges - can be a sign of problems.
Any serious uneven wear should be checked urgently by a garage to prevent tyre blowouts. When your alignment is out you may also find your steering wheel doesn’t sit straight when your wheels are. For example, the logo which is in the middle is usually sideways when sat straight. This could also be a sign that your wheels need re-aligning. You should be aware that you won't usually see a warning light, but there are plenty of other ways to spot a problem. If you've got any of these symptoms, pop it in to us to get them checked.
How Do I Get My Wheels Checked?
Here at Thame Cars, we offer a free wheel alignment check for your peace of mind. We recommend that you get your alignment checked at least every six months, and we can even do it as part of a full vehicle health check or service while you're with us. We've got some of the latest equipment in our workshop to help us accurately test your wheels.
If your wheels do need adjusting, it costs just £42.50 for one pair of wheels, or £85 for all four wheels. It's a small price to pay, with potential to save money down the line through improved tyre life, better fuel economy and a longer life for your steering and suspension systems.
As ever, our friendly Service team here at Thame Cars are very happy to advise you. If you'd like some more information or would like to book in for your free Wheel Alignment Check or a Full Vehicle Health Check, give us a call or visit our Website.