Alignment services adjust the position and angle of a vehicle's wheels, both in relation to each other and to the body and frame of the car. All-wheel drive (and four-wheel drive) vehicles need four-wheel alignment, as do rear-wheel-drive models. Front end drive cars may only have adjustable front wheels but some could need a four-wheel alignment if not a two-wheel alignment. The process appears fairly simple, the technician puts the vehicle on a lift and makes a few adjustments. What the layman may not realize is it requires specialized measuring tools and a knowledge of what the proper measurements are for each make and model of vehicle.
A vehicle might need an alignment service for one of two reasons. The first is that after-impact such as an accident. Even a minor fender bender at low speeds or something as simple as hitting a pothole can knock the wheels out of alignment. By allowing the adjustable parts of the wheel to absorb the shock, it prevents more serious damage from occurring, such as a broken axle. The second reason is that over time, smaller stresses build up and cause the same effect. According to physics, the weight and speed of the vehicle translate to a high level of force. Although the bulk of the forces is used to propel the car forward, there is some distribution of the force which requires regular alignment adjustments and other maintenance services over time.
Consequences of Driving with Misaligned Wheels
The most common symptom of wheels being out of alignment is the car will veer in one direction or the other during regular driving on a straight road. As the problem gets worse, the car may have trouble cornering or might develop uncomfortable vibrations. If the problem is left without being corrected, you'll begin to notice uneven wear of tire tread along with poor gas mileage. Eventually, the car will become unsafe to drive, and the problem will likely cause other damage which becomes more expensive to repair both in terms of parts and labor.
Allowing an Authorized Dealer to Conduct Maintenance and Repairs
Because alignment services require special tools and specialized knowledge, it's always a good idea to have it done by the trained technicians at an authorized dealer's shop such as Volkswagen of Inver Grove, in Inver Grove Heights, MN. You'll find our technicians to be professionally prepared to get your car back on the road quickly and efficiently.