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The Importance of Wheel Alignment in Collision Repair

After an accident, you may find yourself dealing with a lot of exterior damage on your vehicle. However, you mustn’t overlook the wheels. Collisions can often cause the wheels to slip out of alignment, leading to worse performance and safety. Even if you were only in a small collision that resulted in minor damage, you should still consider taking your vehicle to a collision repair center. The technicians will need to look at the wheel alignment to ensure everything is all right. Let’s look at the reasons why such a step is so important in maintaining your vehicle.

Key Takeaways

  • Wheel alignment is crucial for maintaining the stability, handling, and safety of a vehicle.
  • Collisions can easily knock wheels out of alignment, leading to various performance issues and safety concerns.
  • Signs of misaligned wheels include uneven tire wear, drifting to one side, and steering wheel vibrations.
  • Trusting a certified collision repair center ensures the use of advanced techniques and equipment for precise wheel alignment, restoring the vehicle’s optimal performance.

Why Is Wheel Alignment Important?

Wheel alignment is important for several reasons. Technically, wheel alignment refers to the adjustment of the wheel angle to the manufacturer’s specifications. When the wheels are properly aligned, the vehicle is more stable. This contributes to a smoother, more controlled ride. Plus, your get the maximum life of your tires. When your tires wear evenly, you also get improved fuel efficiency. Accurate wheel alignment also plays a significant role in preserving the suspension system, steering components, and overall vehicle safety. 

Can Wheels Become Misaligned After a Collision?

Yes, wheels can become misaligned during a collision or as a result of other damages afterwards. Consider this: During an impact, your car may be rocked or tossed by the momentum of the other vehicle. When this happens, the wheels can be knocked out of alignment. Any jolt can disrupt the balance—even hitting a pot hole. Even an inconsequential misalignment can lead to significant issues down the road if not corrected right away. 

Signs Your Wheel Alignment is Off

Detecting signs of misaligned wheels is crucial for preventing further damage and ensuring a safe driving experience. Paying attention to the following common indications can help you identify potential wheel misalignment issues:

Uneven or Rapid Tire Wear

Misaligned wheels often cause uneven tire wear, which is visible as excessive wear on one side of the tire tread compared to the other. This uneven pattern can lead to premature tire deterioration, compromising the overall performance and lifespan of the tires. Regularly inspecting the tire tread for uneven wear patterns can help you detect and address potential wheel alignment problems promptly.

Vehicle Pulling to One Side

If you notice your vehicle veering to one side, especially when driving on a straight road, it could be a clear indication of wheel misalignment. This pulling effect occurs when the wheels are not properly aligned, causing the vehicle to drift towards the side with more resistance. Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to prevent potential safety hazards and ensure a stable and balanced driving experience.

Steering Wheel Vibrations

Vibrations in the steering wheel, especially at higher speeds, can indicate wheel misalignment. These vibrations are often a result of the wheels pulling against each other due to misaligned angles. Ignoring these vibrations can lead to further damage to the suspension system and other crucial components, affecting the overall stability and safety of the vehicle.

Noticeable Drift in the Steering Wheel when Driving Straight

A noticeable drift or off-center steering wheel position when driving on a straight road is a clear sign of wheel misalignment. This issue can affect the vehicle’s handling and responsiveness, making it challenging to maintain a straight trajectory. Promptly addressing this symptom is essential to prevent uneven tire wear and ensure a smooth and controlled driving experience.

How is Wheel Alignment Corrected?

Wheel alignment correction involves adjusting the angles of the wheels to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensuring that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The process typically includes the following steps:

  1. Evaluation and Assessment: Certified technicians begin by assessing the current alignment status of the wheels using precision equipment. They measure the angles of the wheels, including the camber, caster, and toe, to determine the extent of misalignment.
  2. Adjustment of Camber, Caster, and Toe: Based on the assessment, technicians make necessary adjustments to the camber, caster, and toe angles of the wheels. Camber refers to the vertical tilt of the wheels, caster to the forward or backward positioning of the steering axis, and toe to the inward or outward alignment of the front of the tires.
  3. Utilization of Alignment Equipment: Technicians use specialized alignment equipment such as computerized alignment machines and laser alignment tools to ensure precise adjustments. These advanced tools enable them to make accurate and real-time adjustments, guaranteeing that the wheels are aligned according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  4. Test Drive and Final Adjustment: After the initial adjustments, technicians conduct a test drive to evaluate the vehicle’s performance and handling. They assess the steering response, stability, and overall driving experience to confirm that the adjustments have effectively restored the vehicle’s optimal alignment.
  5. Post-Alignment Inspection: Once the adjustments are made, technicians conduct a final inspection to ensure that the wheels are aligned correctly. They examine the camber, caster, and toe angles to verify that they meet the manufacturer’s recommended specifications, thus guaranteeing the safety and stability of the vehicle.

Reasons to Bring Your Vehicle to a Certified Collision Repair Center for an Alignment 

Entrusting your vehicle to a certified collision repair center ensures the use of advanced techniques and specialized equipment for precise wheel alignment. Certified technicians have the expertise and knowledge to accurately assess and adjust the wheel angles, ensuring that they adhere to the manufacturer’s specifications. By choosing a certified repair center, you can rest assured that your vehicle’s wheel alignment will be restored to its optimal condition, guaranteeing a safe and smooth driving experience.

Looking to Get Your Wheels Aligned After a Collision?

Wheel alignment is vital. After a collision, it is important to have your vehicle inspected and repaired at a certified collision repair center. There, your vehicle will have its wheel alignment checked and fixed, if necessary. 

If you’ve recently experienced a collision or suspect that your vehicle’s wheel alignment may be off, trust Elmer’s Auto Body for expert wheel alignment services. Our certified technicians utilize advanced alignment equipment and precision techniques to ensure that your vehicle’s wheels are perfectly aligned according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Give one of our three South Jersey locations a call today or fill out the contact form to schedule an appointment.

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