Simply put, your automobile is properly aligned when all 4 tires are parallel and the steering wheel is centered. Why is this important? Improper alignment is a major cause of premature tire wear. Over the years a properly aligned vehicle can add literally thousands of miles to the life of your tires, saving you money. In addition, excessively or unevenly worn tires can actually be dangerous! And a misaligned suspension places excessive wear on more than just your tires. Gas mileage also increases as rolling resistance decreases. Proper inflation is key, but all of your wheels must also be spinning parallel to one another.
Does your car pull or drift? Does the steering wheel vibrate? Is your vehicle riding rougher than it used to? Any or all of these could be due to improper alignment, robbing from you the driving pleasure everyone deserves from the investment they've made in their vehicle. Think of it this way; the average car is driven about 12,000 miles each year. A car with a "toe" alignment just .34 degrees out of specifications (that's less than 1/4 of an inch!) will drag its tires sideways more than 68 miles by the end of the year. You should have your car checked immediately if you notice excessive or uneven tire wear or pull, vibration, or shimmy in the steering wheel. If your steering wheel is not centered while the car is moving in a straight line or it seems to wander, this could also indicate improper alignment. You should always follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation, but as a general rule have your tires and alignment checked every 10,000 miles or at least once a year.
Wheel balance is every bit as important as alignment to ensure maximum tire life, and driving pleasure and safety. Static Balance, the widely used method for years, does indeed balance your tires making sure they move properly up and down. At VanKleek's we use Dynamic Balancing which also eliminates side-to-side imbalance. Important? At 60 MPH the average tire rotates 850 times per minute. Slight variations in balance can cause the tire to slam into the pavement 14 times each second. But balance is only part of the solution. A perfectly balanced tire can vibrate due to wheel force variation. This most frequently occurs when a tire or rim is out-of-round, or the tread or sidewall stiffness is not uniform. This can happen even with new tires, but a competent tire center knows how to match high spots and stiff spots to correct wheel force variation. If excessive wheel force variation indicates a tire to be defective, our reputable manufacturers will honor a warranty claim.
A knowledgeable technician with proper training and equipment can diagnose and correct any of these problems. This is precisely what you will get at VanKleeck's Tire.