Why Shouldn't You Perform Your Own Wheel Alignment?

Automotive Blog

There's plenty of excellent do-it-yourself automotive information on the internet. If you drive a popular model, there's a good chance you can find detailed instructions to fix nearly any problem. While this democratization of repair knowledge is undoubtedly a good thing, there are some tasks that even highly-skilled do-it-yourselfers should never attempt.

At first glance, an alignment might seem relatively simple, and you can find people who claim you can do this job in your driveway. Unfortunately, performing a wheel alignment without the skills, experience, and tools to do it right can lead to disaster. Here are just three reasons why you should always leave this maintenance task to the experts.

1. You're Affecting Your Car's Handling

Your car's handling on the road is about more than just hugging curves and enjoying a sporty ride. Your vehicle needs to behave consistently and predictably so you can respond to emergencies with confidence. Handling that's inaccurate or erratic can mean the difference between avoiding an obstacle and disaster.

Improper alignment can significantly affect how your vehicle handles on the road. You may notice your car pulling to the side or even reduce your ability to brake effectively. Worse, you won't have the tools to correctly measure your alignment before and after, leaving you without the information you need to know that you did the job correctly.

2. You Can Ruin Your Tires

Alignment issues cause your tires to work against each other, dragging along the road and creating additional friction. When your alignment is far enough out of spec, your tires will wear unevenly, or they'll develop scalloping patterns. Tires with uneven wear typically need to be replaced, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

Excessively or unevenly worn tires can also impact how your car behaves on the road, further degrading your handling and leading to unsafe behavior in inclement conditions. Since you won't know if you successfully aligned your wheels, you may not realize there's a problem until you've already ruined your tires.

3. You Don't Have the Right Equipment

Alignment specifications deal with tolerances in the millimeter and sub-millimeter range. Modern shops use high-tech, high-cost machines that can deal with these tight ranges. This equipment helps align your wheels and confirms that they're within factory specifications after technicians perform the work. These machines rely on advanced software to ensure your suspension is as close to spec as possible.

Maintaining your vehicle can be fun and rewarding, but a critical backyard mechanic skill is knowing when to leave a job to the experts. If your car needs an alignment, make sure that you let the pros do it safely and correctly.

For more information on wheel alignment, contact a professional in your area.


29 October 2021

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