Wheel Alignment vs. Front End Alignment: Is There a Difference?
Do you ever find that your vehicle seems to veer, even slightly, to the left or to the right? If so, this could be the result of poor wheel alignment. This is both a simple yet urgently needed fix. Not only will an alignment make for a smoother and safer ride, but it will also extend the lifespan of your tires.
Along with “wheel alignment”, you may also heard of the term “front end alignment”. Do these two things mean basically the same thing? For all intents and purposes, yes. Wheel alignment may refer to the alignment of all four wheels, especially in Four Wheel Drive vehicles. Front end alignment only references the front two wheels. But no matter what you call it, getting your wheels aligned is something every vehicle owner should invest in from time to time.
Why Wheel Alignment Matters
When your car is first manufactured, the wheels are aligned, tested, adjusted and ultimately verified at the factory. In a brand new vehicle there shouldn’t be any problem with wheel alignment. But over time, most drivers will find that their wheels fall out of alignment.
There are various reasons for this, most of which have to do with driving conditions. Driving down a poorly maintained road can cause wheels to become misaligned. Driving badly down these roads can make things worse. Hitting potholes and running into curbs can also affect your tire alignment.
Wheel alignment issues may not be noticeable at first but damage can still be occurring. When tires are even slightly out of alignment, it can accelerate uneven wear and tear on your tires. This means your tires won’t be performing as well as they should be, and you might have to spend money to have those tires replaced sooner than expected.
Getting Your Wheels Aligned
Ultimately, there are several benefits to having your wheels aligned regularly:
- Your tires will last longer.
- Your vehicle will drive smoother.
- Your wheels will point in the right direction, which means you can cruise without worry.
- Your car will take less energy to keep going, which can save you money at the pump.
- Your car will handle better, which means it will be safer.
Unfortunately there is no definite way to tell when your tires are out of alignment until you take your vehicle to an auto care professional. If too much time passes and the misalignment becomes so bad that the car no longer drives in a straight line, considerable tire damage has already been done.
This is why it is best to have your vehicle inspected regularly. Make sure alignments are a part of your routine maintenance efforts. To learn more, take your vehicle to a service professional and inquire about how often you need to have an alignment.