Tire alignment and rotation refer to the procedural readjustment of your car's tires in particular patterns — from side to side or front to back. This service improves handling, tire lifespan, and overall vehicle performance. Routine tire alignment and rotation allow you (the driver) to detect any damage, inspect the air pressure and tread depth, and have tires realigned.
In this article, Panama City Toyota discusses why tire alignment and rotation are essential, types of tire alignment patterns, and how to know whether your car needs tire alignment.
How Often Should You Go for Tire Alignment and Rotation?
It would be best to get a tire alignment and rotation when you install new tires for your car. Tire alignment is also recommended whenever you notice uneven wheel wear. This service ensures your tires have optimal life and wear. Also, you can get tire alignment once or twice annually if you drive under normal conditions around Panama City.
Note that there is no guaranteed duration in which your tires must remain aligned; therefore, regular checks are recommended. Regular tire alignment at a reliable car dealership is even more essential for drivers who drive on uneven surfaces.
That said, tire alignment is different from wheel and tire balancing. Many often assume both are the same because of the similarities in the features of an out-of-balance tire and an alignment, such as steering wheel chatter. But, to clarify, tire balancing entails rectifying weight imbalances within the tire and the wheel. Even weight distribution on the wheel is attained when small weights are put inside the wheel's barrel.
Several factors can cause tire misalignment, especially:
To detect uneven wear, look at the wear across your tire width-contact patch. If the tire interior or exterior is wearing out quicker, it could indicate tire misalignment. Driving your vehicle with imbalanced wheels or underinflated tires around Panama City could sometimes trigger uneven tire wear. Worn-out struts or shocks, disintegrated springs, or excess luggage can also lead to uneven tire wear.
It can occur when the road is higher at the center and forces the car to veer toward an even point. Also, if the asphalt grooves are located slightly away from the vehicle's axle, you may notice a pull since tires on one side are riding on higher ground. The difference in power supplied to the wheels during acceleration can also cause a torque steer. Experiencing a pull only when braking could be a sign that a one-side sticking caliper fails to fully detach from the brake disc before the car stops. Inadequate tire rotation and tire failure can also cause the steering pull.
Nevertheless, vibration while driving often signifies out-of-balance tires rather than misalignment.
Tire alignment may not resolve this since it can be caused by worn-out steering or suspension parts, such as tie rods, strut bearings, or ball joints. Check with your car dealership to know the cause of your car's off-center steering wheel.
Each vehicle has tire rotation and alignment specifications recommended by car dealership technicians. Some of the tire rotation and alignment specifications are based on your vehicle's tire type and whether tires have a similar size on the front and rear sides. Another requirement for these specifications is the drivetrain of the car — i.e., all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive.
The car dealership technicians' report will show the alignment patterns before and after service. If your car was misaligned, the technician will explain the alignment printout with red "out of spec" values or, after alignment, with green ‘in-spec' values.
The tire industry regulation body, The Tire and Rim Association Inc, advises the following specifications:
Regular tire rotation maximizes your tire tread life and helps you avoid uneven tread wear. Uniform tread wear keeps your tire tread depth even and ensures excellent handling and traction on all wheels. And as for all-wheel drive vehicles, uniform tire wear decreases stress on their drivetrains, thereby lowering wear minimizing the potential for replacing expensive parts.
Located in Panama City, Florida, Panama City Toyota offers various services depending on your vehicle's needs. Our car dealership technicians can help you identify whether your vehicle's tires are misaligned and help you correct this defect in our state-of-the-art facilities. Schedule your tire rotation and alignment with us today, or contact us to help you get started.