Auto Repair & Services
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- Preventative Maintenance
- Steering and Suspension
- Tire Balancing
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- Tire Repair
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So you recently hit a pothole or curb pretty hard, or you have just noticed that your car isn’t driving like it did awhile back. Maybe you’re noticing problems like:
- Persistent pull to one side when driving on flat, straight pavement
- Steering wheel has poor “returnability,” meaning it won’t center itself after rounding a corner
- Uneven wear on one or both front tires
- Steering wheel has to be held off-center while driving in a straight line
Chances are you’ve got an alignment problem. Your car leaves the factory with the front wheels set at very specific angles for the best possible road manners, steering response and handling. A hard impact on a pothole or curb can be enough to cause those angles to drift out of spec, resulting in an alignment problem.
Two of the most important angles are toe-in and toe-out, referring to the inward or outward skew of a wheel as seen from above. Think of a man who walks with one foot out to the side somewhat…the heel of that shoe is going to wear differently from the other, and that’s not unlike what happens when your vehicle has an alignment problem. One wheel, skewed to the side, constantly tries to steer the vehicle in another direction and is then dragged along by the other wheels. This causes the tire to wear unevenly at an inside or outside edge, and will also compromise fuel economy due to excess drag.
Wheel alignments are performed on a piece of equipment called an alignment rack, where the technician can take precise measurements and make very minute adjustments to bring the wheels back into spec again. How minute are the adjustments? If one wheel was off by only 1/8”, it would cause your car to drift 28 feet off of a straight line over the course of a mile!
Are you noticing problems that suggest an alignment issue with your vehicle? Don’t blow your money on premature tire wear or poorer fuel economy. Make an appointment with us at American Tire Company, at any of our five convenient locations, and let our technicians put your car up on the alignment rack!