How Important is Wheel Alignment?
Is wheel alignment really worth it? Can it really make that much of a difference to your car's safety, efficiency and overall performance?
Our MG Cannon specialists answer the questions you really need to ask about wheel alignment, Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) calibration, and why it may well prove to be the best investment you make for your vehicle.
There's nothing quite like the feeling of taking that brand-new car out onto the road for the first time, is there? It's smooth, it's swift, it's everything the manufacturers promised that it would be, and then some. In short, it feels as good as driving gets.
But alas, like all good things, it just doesn't last, does it?
A pot-hole here, a kerb-bump there, a myriad of other little problems in between, and before you know it, things aren't quite what they used to be. Perhaps you've noticed that your car has developed an annoying habit of slowly drifting in one direction or another, forcing you to over-compensate with the steering wheel to keep you on course.
Or perhaps it's the steering wheel itself that signals a problem: Even when you're driving perfectly straight, that steering wheel is still somehow off.
Maybe it’s the tyres.
Sure, everyone expects their tyres to wear down eventually, but yours are wearing down at an ever-increasing, worryingly uneven rate.
If any of this sounds familiar, that could well be a sign that your wheels are misaligned, meaning it's time you thought about bringing the car in for realignment.
Of course, at first glance, it's tempting to downplay the importance of a wheel alignment check, dismissing it as a luxury that you can do without. After all, your car still technically gets you from A-B, even if the journey isn't exactly smooth, straight, or cost-efficient.
Yet to keep on driving without getting those wheels aligned could be opening you up to a whole host of problems, even putting yourself and others in some serious danger.
Wheel misalignment can have a big impact on your safety in two key ways:
First, let's look at those tyres.
We all know how important the tread on our tyres is. It enables our cars to get an adequate grip on the road, allowing for greater control on wet, slippery surfaces and making it much easier to stop at shorter distances.
Naturally, the more you drive, the more that tread will wear down. Yet usually, this wear spreads evenly across the surface of the tyre.
When your wheels are misaligned, however, the tread begins wearing down in uneven patches across the tyre. this means that while one half of the tyre shows only minimal signs of wear, the other half could be practically bald.
Can you imagine the kind of danger that could put you in?
Not only does it reduce the amount of control you have over your vehicle - especially when it's wet outside - but it also makes braking in an emergency particularly troublesome, requiring a much longer stopping distance. Obviously, you don't need us to tell you that long stopping distances aren't always a luxury when there's an unexpected hazard right in front of you.
Then, of course, there's the steering.
Again, this all comes down to control.
When your wheels are misaligned, every journey is a battle of will and wits between you and your steering wheel. It takes more serious, more concentrated effort just to get the car to go where it needs to go. As such, you'll find it much more difficult to manoeuvre if you have to suddenly avoid a collision. That's not to mention the additional challenge presented when you try and control your car at high speeds.
For most people, that alone can be enough to convince most people of the importance of wheel alignment.
For others, however, there's one question that serves as a barrier to getting that all-important work done.
That question is this:
At first glance, wheel alignment can seem expensive. Look a little closer, however, and you'll see how a Pro-Align Hunter 4 Elite Wheel Alignment service can actually save you money in the long-run.
Think about it: Once your tyres have become so worn down as to be unroadworthy, you bring the car in and could have to spend up to say £250 replacing two tyres or £500 on replacing all four of them. Yet, as we all know by now, wheel misalignment causes those tyres to wear down at a much faster-than-average rate. So, a few months later, you're back again, spending yet another £500. And again a few months down the line, and again, and.. well, you get the picture, right?
Consider this scenario instead.
Your tyres have worn down, so you bring them in for a replacement, and again spend the £500. This time, however, you also pay for wheel alignment. If your car has ADAS, you pay to have that calibrated too in order to keep your car safety system performing at its optimum best.
Sure, this is an out-of-pocket expense at first, but it does mean that those brand new tyres last much, much longer, saving you hundreds -if not thousands- of pounds in replacements.
That's not all. There's another way that wheel alignment saves you money that many car owners tend to overlook:
Misaligned tyres often work against each other, meaning that your engine has to work harder just to get the car to move. The harder that engine works, the more fuel you burn up, and the more fuel you burn up, the more you spend at the pump.
When you invest in a comprehensive wheel alignment service, your engine won't have to put as much effort in, making your car much more fuel efficient and cost-effective.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can prove invaluable in helping us enjoy a better, safer driving experience, while also helping protect other road users and pedestrians too.
In order for them to work, they need to take in multiple inputs from various aspects of the car, including the steering. The vehicle’s whole safety ecosystem needs to work in harmony.
During wheel alignment, the steering angle sensor may be found to be misadjusted, which can lead to the ADAS technology sensing the steering is turned even when it isn't. In order to keep your system performing at its best (thereby keeping you safe), Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) insist on wheel alignment being carried out as the first part of the ADAS calibration process.
If you've been having any of the problems, we've looked at so far and are thinking of bringing your car in for wheel alignment, there are two key things you might want to check first.
These will help you to be certain that it really is wheel misalignment, and not some other issue, causing the problems.
First, check your tyre pressure.
Tyres that don't have the proper amount of pressure can cause many of the problems with drifting or uneven steering that are often attributed to wheel misalignment, so be sure to check those first.
Next, take a look at your suspension and steering components. If there are any signs of wear and tear, these might need tackling first.
Not sure how to do either of these? Don't worry, your MG Cannon specialist will offer free, professional advice and can also carry out complete pre-alignment checks before carrying out your alignment service.
The safety of our customers is of paramount importance, which is why we've recently invested in Pro-Align's state-of-the-art Hunter 4 Wheel Alignment technology and also ADAS calibration systems.
This combined technology enables us to deliver an in house, while you wait wheel alignment service that guarantees the highest levels of accuracy and efficiency, all at cost-effective prices.
In doing so, we ensure that you enjoy optimal safety, performance and cost-efficiency from a car that once again drives just as the manufacturer always intended.
To find out more about our Hunter 4 Wheel Alignment service, or to book your car in, contact us today. Our friendly, professional team are here to help.