This small article points out the importance of having your wheel alignment checked and adjusted at regular intervals. Here in the UK, we are plagued by local authority speed bumps, these bumps cause most of the problems. Also, potholes that usually appear after winter are the scourge of wheel alignment.
In Reading we have a high incidence of cars requiring Wheel Alignment, the main cause for this is driving over potholes and speed bumps, this can alter the vehicle’s steering and suspension geometries or damage critical components such as tyres and steering parts. This can reduce the vehicle’s safety or create extra running costs, also damaging the tyres prematurely, but by ensuring the wheels are correctly aligned, this will be avoided and drivers can minimise the effects of any pothole or speed bump damage and ensure they remain as safe as possible.
The recent bad weather will inevitably increase the number of potholes that cause the damage and due to fact the holes may be covered with snow and ice this can cause a number of serious safety issues for drivers, if a motorist knows that they have gone down a pothole they should get their alignment checked, most auto centres will give you a free alignment check and you only pay if the alignment is out and it needs adjusting.
Another sign that your wheel alignment Reading is out is that your steering wheel may not be straight, this will need all the front alignment re-setting and could take an hour or two you could incur an extra cost, so it may be wise if you asked for an estimate of the cost. Another thing you should watch for when having your alignment checked is the problem of seized up steering parts. The garage or auto centre may have to use some form of heat to free off seized steering parts, This will take much longer and an extra charge will usually be applied, once again a good auto centre will warn you of this and give you the choice of to have it done or not.
Any good Tyre operator will give you a full tyre service for free, he will check your tyre pressures, your tyre tread depth, in the UK the tread depth is 1.6 mm for 3/4 of the tread width from the centre of the tread to the edges, the will also check your tyres for bulges and cuts and then inflate your tyres to the correct pressures, this will be all part of the service which should be carried out with a smile if not go somewhere else.
To sum up have your alignment carried out at regular intervals, especially if you think that you have hit a pothole or gone over a speed bump too fast. Always have the alignment checked if you are having new tyres fitted, even if the auto centre ask you to come back later, a few days will not scrub your tyres off, have your pressures and tyre wear checked regularly and if have any doubt of what tyre to buy always go for a mid-range make, this will mean that you get good quality and the tyres will be cheaper than a branded make. Once again a good garage or auto centre will be glad to help and check your tyres for free.