If you’re a longtime car owner, you probably remember a time when a wheel alignment was considered part of your annual maintenance. Regular alignments were more important back then because the cars’ suspension systems tended to go out of alignment easily. A simple, alignment was all it took to save your tires.
Today’s MacPherson strut suspensions tend to hold their geometry more securely than the old A-frame suspensions did, so they’re less likely to get knocked out of alignment. Which means that there’s a good chance your car won’t need a wheel alignment as often.
Car Suspension Service
The thing to remember is that there are really only two purposes to maintenance: dependability or cost savings. If a maintenance service doesn’t make your car more dependable or save you money, there’s really no point to it.
Once, many years ago, a regular wheel alignment fit both those criteria: It provided better handling and kept your tires from wearing too quickly. Dependability and cost savings.
But today those suspensions aren’t as likely to go out of alignment. That, coupled with the much higher cost of a wheel alignment, has pretty much eliminated the benefits of alignment as a maintenance item.
When To Have Your Car Aligned
So when should you have your car aligned?
- If the tires are wearing unevenly.
- If the car is pulling one way or the other.
- If the steering isn’t centered properly.
The one time you shouldn’t get it aligned is if you’re experiencing a high-speed vibration. That’s a wheel balance problem, not an alignment problem.
If you do notice a problem and you think that you might need a wheel alignment, give your local Cottman center a call. They’ll be happy to check your car and, if they determine it needs to be aligned, they’ll help you get it taken care of properly.
Sure, wheel alignment is still an important part of keeping your car running safely and economically. But regular maintenance? Not anymore.