Having a correct wheel alignment or “alignments” are essential to improved tire wear, improved handling, and increased fuel economy. New vehicles come in alignment, but they become out of alignment with regular wear. Worn steering and suspension parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends, shock, struts and springs cause a vehicle to become out of alignment. Also, collisions with potholes or curbs can throw a vehicle out of alignment. When this happens, tire rolling resistance increases, and tire life, fuel economy, and handling suffer. Vehicles that either pull to one side or another or ones that exhibit uneven tire wear are candidates for alignment. During an alignment, the technician seeks to restore the various angles specified by the manufacturer.
The three primary alignment angles are caster, camber and toe. Caster referrers to the relative position of wheels on the same axle. If camber is off, one wheel is further forward than the other. Caster refers to the horizontal position of tires. A tire that leans in or out is indicative of caster being off. Signs of an out of caster situation include increased wear on the inner or outer edges of a tire. If “toe” is out, the tires are not square to each other. Either one or more tires is not aimed straight. In addition to increased tire wear and, potentially, decreased fuel economy, a vehicle with a toe out of alignment will typically pull to one side or another.
While most manufacturers recommend that a full wheel alignment be checked annually, alignments are also recommended when new tires, steering components, or suspension components are replaced. Sant Automotive utilizes a state of the art Hunter Hawkeye system to measure the alignment angles on our customers’ vehicles. Our highly precise Hunter Hawkeye alignment machine is capable of measuring various alignment angles to within 1/100 of a degree. Once alignments are measured, our trained technicians can then make the various adjustments needed to insure that factory specification are restored.
When inspecting tires, it is also important to remember that worn suspension items like shock absorbers and struts can also cause uneven tire wear. Vehicles with worn suspension components tend to skip causing uneven tire wear. At Sant Automotive, we sell virtually every brand of tire, but we are an authorized dealer for Michelin, BF Goodrich, and Uniroyal tires.
We want our customers to get the maximum benefit from their vehicles and from their tires. If a vehicle is showing signs of alignment problems, we will notify our customers and suggest corrective action. If you have any questions, please give us a buzz at 314-849-2900. Thanks.