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How and Why Wheel Alignment Makes Your Car Better and Safer

Owning a car means keeping up with the payments (if you have a hire purchase loan), petrol costs, and maintenance. No matter whether your car is a hybrid, fully electric or fossil fuel only, they all have one thing in common and it is that they all have wheels.

A car’s wheel alignment may sound trivial and something you wouldn’t think twice about but it actually affects your car’s performance in more ways than you may realise. Every car model has its own pre-determined wheel alignment, and it refers to the angle of your car wheels when they are in contact with the road surface. Having a misaligned wheels sound like a small problem but it can have serious consequences as it affects how your car handles.

Here are a few more things to know about wheel alignment:

How does my car lose its alignment?

Your car won’t lose its alignment just randomly and it’s usually due to potholes – the bane of every Singaporean driver’s existence, bumping into concrete stalls (the blocks installed at most parking lots), and wear and tear where the rubber components may start cracking and the socket joints loosen as your car ages. Additionally, if you go over a speed bump too quickly or your car was involved in an accident, it can also cause misalignment of your wheels.

What are the signs I need a wheel alignment?

Your car will need a wheel alignment if you realise your car is doing a few of these things:

Pulling to the left or right when your steering wheel is pointed straight. When you’re on a straight road with very little traffic, remove your hands from the steering wheel and let your car guide itself. Check to see if your car drifts towards any particular side and lightly maintain control of your steering wheel in order to stay on the road. Try this a few times and ONLY when there is very little traffic on the road – safety first! If you notice that your car does veer off towards the left or right instead of going in a straight line, it’s time to take it to the workshop.

See if your steering wheel is crooked when you’re driving on a straight road. Take stock of how the car’s logo (usually in the middle of the steering wheel) is angled when you’re on a straight road and if it’s off by a few degrees while you’re driving on a straight road, your wheels may be misaligned.

Another thing to check is your tyres. If you notice that your tyres are wearing out at different rates, this could be a sign of wheel misalignment. Properly aligned wheels should have the same rubber depth on all tyres.

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How will a wheel alignment benefit me?

The most important reason for you to ensure that your car’s wheels are properly aligned is safety. A properly aligned car will allow you to make a fast turn or dodge something quickly that’s on the road which could make all the difference when it comes to your life on the line.

In addition to that, benefits include better handling of the car which translates to a smoother drive, longer lasting tyres, and when all the wheels are pointed in the right direction and angle, it requires less energy to keep going which in turn saves fuel.

Do note that there are no light indicators in your car that will signal that your car’s wheel alignment has a problem. This is why it’s important to get it checked regularly. It is recommended to get your wheel alignment check with every other oil change which is over the course of 10,000km. However, as there are plenty of humps on Singaporean roads, your car’s alignment may be thrown off earlier than that. Thus, it is important to pay attention to how your car handles and if you notice anything amiss, it’s time to send it to the workshop.

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How much does it cost?

It doesn’t cost very much and ranges between $50-100 depending on what kind of car you drive and which workshop you go to. Always choose a reliable workshop offering good and precise wheel alignment in order to keep you (and other road users in Singapore) safe.

It’s always better to pay a little extra to keep your car wheels properly aligned compared to in the long run when it could cost you loads more by wearing your tyres out faster, increase your car’s fuel consumption or damage repair.

Conclusion

Wheel alignment sounds like something ‘extra’ to be done for your car, but it is essential in ensuring of your safety and driving comfort. Misaligned wheels can cause extra wear and tear on your tyres and your car won’t be able to drive in a straight line without a lot of adjustments, or worse, it may cause an accident. Make it a habit of paying attention to how your car drives especially when you’re on a straight road in order to keep on top of any misalignments. Also, stay protected on the roads with the best car insurance that suits your lifestyle needs.

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