One of the things that a lot of drivers tend to disregard is the alignment of their wheels because they do not often feel the effects of bad wheel alignment. There are even drivers who have actually never experienced getting their wheels aligned, especially if they have already gotten used to driving with misaligned wheels. However, does wheel alignment actually affect your car’s overall ride quality?
Wheel alignment affects ride quality in a negative way because of how it can cause the car to drift a bid to one side. This can affect your control over the vehicle. Safety can also be an issue when you have bad alignment because this can affect your brakes and the breakdown of some parts and components.
It is important to understand that wheels are made to be aligned for a reason, and that is to make sure that the car can be controlled and steered properly. As such, when one or more of your wheels are not properly aligned, the overall experience you have while driving your car can change negatively. And this can affect the vehicle’s ride quality and safety which includes brakes.
Does wheel alignment affect performance?
When it comes to driving, the health of your wheels also plays a factor when it comes to the performance of the vehicle. Now, when talking about health, we are not simply referring to the conditions of the wheels or whether or not the tires are still fine. We are also referring to the alignment of the wheels.
It can be difficult to understand why but there are some people who often disregard their wheel alignment because they do not know how it affects the car. In some cases, there are drivers who have already gotten used to misaligned wheels and no longer care about whether or not the wheels are aligned because of how re-alignment will only cost them more money.
However, at the end of the day, wheel alignment is important because it does have an effect on the vehicle. But does that mean that bad wheel alignment actually affects the performance of the car?
Yes, wheel alignment has an effect on how the car performs because of how misaligned wheels can negatively impact the way you control and handle your car. When your car’s wheels are not aligned properly, there is a chance that it will drift either right or left even when you are not moving the steering wheel. This will make it more difficult for you to control or handle the vehicle, which has a negative impact on the performance of the car.
Let’s have a really good example that most of you can actually relate to if you are the ones doing the groceries in your home.
When you are at the grocery store, and you manage to pick up the bad shopping cart, you would know how difficult it is to control a cart that has a wheel that is not properly aligned. It will take more effort on your part to make sure that the shopping cart moves forward because of how the misaligned wheel can take the cart in a different direction or even make it more difficult for it to actually move. This is the same case when your car’s wheels are not aligned properly.
A misaligned set of wheels can make it more difficult for you to control and steer your vehicle. You will notice this when the car often vibrates or when the wheels feel bumpy whenever you are driving. And when you are driving at high speeds, the performance will be affected negatively in a huge way because of how there is a chance that you might find it difficult to steer the vehicle. Try thinking about driving on the freeway and accidentally switching lanes because you found it difficult to steer the car.
All that said, there is no arguing against the fact that bad alignment can have a negative impact on the overall performance of the vehicle because control is everything when it comes to your car. The less control you have over your vehicle, the more likely its performance will be affected, especially if you are someone who values the car’s performance over any other factor.
Does alignment affect ride quality?
While we did talk more about the car’s performance in relation to its alignment, it is better to talk about the car’s overall ride quality because this is what matters most for a lot of different drivers out there. So, does alignment affect ride quality?
Bad alignment has as much negative impact on the car’s overall ride quality as it does on the vehicle’s performance. And all that stems from the fact that the car is so much easier to control and maneuver when the tires are properly aligned.
When you have a bad alignment on your tires, what happens is that the vehicle will be so much more difficult to control, depending on how bad the problem is. So, if the vehicle is more difficult to control for the driver, the overall ride quality will be affected because steering the car will now be much more challenging. Again, it’s like trying to steer a shopping cart with a bad wheel in the right direction. It can get very frustrating no matter how used to it you already are.
Of course, when it is more difficult to steer the car and when one of the wheels is making it more difficult for you to control the vehicle, what happens is that the ride won’t be comfortable for you or your passengers. This can lead to a bumpy ride that is caused by a wheel that offers a bit of resistance due to it being misaligned.
But the most important factor to look at here is your safety. Because of how it will be more difficult for you to control the car when it has a bad wheel alignment, its safety will be compromised. Imagine trying to turn or steer the car in another direction when one of the wheels is facing the opposite direction. This can lead to you losing control over the car.
Losing control over the car, especially when you are driving at high speeds, will never lead to anything good. That can instantly cause an accident on the road, which will compromise everyone’s safety. We are not only talking about you or your passengers but also the other cars on the road because they can easily get caught up in the mess if you lose control over your car.
So, when safety is compromised, the overall driving experience will never be good. Having a set of wheels that are not properly aligned will force you to constantly put more effort into making sure that the car is moving in the right direction and that you have control over it.
What problems can alignment cause?
Aside from a poor driving experience, here are some of the other problems that can stem from poor alignment:
- Burns more fuel
One of the reasons why some people tend to disregard poor alignment is that they don’t want to spend money. However, what you should know is that you are only going to spend more money in the long run due to poor alignment. And that is because cars that have poorly aligned wheels tend to burn more fuel.
The reason here is that there will be a ton of dragging happening while you are on the road precisely because one or two wheels are not properly aligned. This can lead to you burning more fuel in the process because your engine now has to work harder to make up for the poor performance of the wheels.
- Faster tire wear out
When at least one of the wheels on your car is not properly aligned, what will happen is that the tire will not move naturally along the road. This means that its treading will be negatively affected. In such a case, the tire will wear out faster compared to the other tires on the wheels that are properly aligned.
There is even a risk of blowing out one of the tires, and that can never be a good thing when it comes to your overall safety. This usually happens when you are driving at high speeds as the tires get more stressed out.
- More repair costs
Poorly aligned wheels will force the other components on your car to work harder because of how they need to compensate for the lack of performance on the misaligned wheel. Such parts and components will end up wearing out faster because of how hard they have to work.
So, when you need to have certain parts repaired or replaced more often because of a bad wheel alignment, you will end up spending more money. And you have to know that one of the parts that can get affected if your wheels are not properly aligned is the suspension, which will cost a lot of money if you want it repaired.