May 19, 2012

Why Wheel Alignment Is Important For Older Cars

Wheel alignment strikes many drivers as a relatively low priority, beneath issues of fuel efficiency and automobile insurance rates. In reality, wheel alignment is a very important aspect of the car’s functionality, and regular maintenance can actually reduce both gas expenses and even the car insurance deductible.

Proper wheel alignment

When you bring your car into a repair or maintenance shop for wheel alignment, the mechanic will measure the angle of each wheel in relation to the ground and other wheels. If the alignment is off, the angles are adjusted so that the wheels are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. These improvements have very tangible benefits.

Better mileage

Gas prices rise and drop erratically, incurring high costs for drivers. Lowering the car’s use of fuel reduces such expenditures. Improper wheel alignment causes the car to incur extra rolling resistance. This resistance harms the mileage and increases the fuel use, which leads to the car running out of gas more quickly. By aligning the wheels properly, parallel to the ground on all sides, the car will minimize any resistance on the road and use less gas.

Safer handling

The balance of the car on its wheels strongly affects the handling as you drive. A car that may not be properly aligned tends to curve slightly on the road. This tilt has a dangerous effect as the car reaches higher speeds and it can lead to a higher likelihood of traffic accidents.

These accidents and fender benders increase the car insurance deductible, taking more money out of your pocket. Older cars are more susceptible to improper wheel alignment, but checking the alignment regularly can prevent steering problems and accidents. With improved handling, even older cars are safer and easier to control, leading to lower automobile insurance payments.

Extended life of tires

New tires are a notoriously steep expense for all drivers, and drivers of older cars are no exception. Aligning the wheels evenly will protect the life of your tires and postpone or possibly prevent the need for new ones. Uneven alignment forces undue weight onto one or two tires, rather than spreading the car’s weight evenly. As this happens, the treads begin to wear down, forcing the driver to pay for a costly tire replacement. If the tires are aligned, however, the tread wears down much more slowly as the weight is divided among all four wheels.

Taking your older car in for a regular wheel alignment check will prevent tire damage, poor mileage and uneven driving. As repair prices and automobile insurance rates rise, proper wheel alignment can save money for tires and lower your car insurance deductible.