AUTO TIPS: Take alignments seriously
Spring is in the air — but it isn’t all blooming tulips and fuzzy bunnies. Motorists across the country know that spring brings with it the temperature changes and fluctuating precipitation that can leave expanses of local roadway reduced to rubble.
Potholes. Frost heaves. Craters. These can destroy your tires and rims, and more likely, chew up and knock around your vehicle’s suspension — resulting in damage and alignment issues.
Your vehicle leaves the factory with its steering and suspension components precisely aligned against one another in a specific geometric arrangement, to keep the wheels oriented in a strict relationship to one another, laying the foundation for vehicle handling and response in all situations.
Nail a gorge in the roads surface, and that alignment could be thrown off, sometimes considerably.
Does your car try and steer itself, even when pointed straight? Have you noticed abnormal or accelerated tire wear? Does your steering vibrate or shimmy, especially on bumps? Swear your vehicle has been acting funny since you whacked that teeth-rattling, slurpee-spilling crater?
If so, chances are your alignment is out to lunch and will need some attention. Your ride may have also suffered some potentially-dangerous suspension or wheel damage.
Don’t worry, though, a checkup and alignment is a relatively inexpensive and painless procedure, like the automotive equivalent of a visit to the chiropractor.