There are many benefits to performing a wheel alignment, including the following.
1. Visually-even tread wear: Aligning your vehicle’s wheels will ensure that all four tires wear evenly, thus prolonging their lifespan while also ensuring proper traction and stability.
2. Safer steering: A properly aligned vehicle has better handling, which means you’ll have more control in emergency situations or when driving under inclement weather conditions.
3. Safer braking: Braking performance is only as good as the tires on your vehicle, so your car or truck will have much shorter stopping distances if you get an alignment after replacing worn-out brake components (especially rotors).
Do You need an alignment after replacing tires?
Not necessarily. It depends on what’s causing the problem. For example, if one tire is significantly larger or smaller than the others, you’ll need an alignment.
But if it’s only a small difference (less than a quarter of an inch), you may be able to simply rotate the tires so that they wear evens out and no longer causes handling problems.
To determine whether your car needs a full alignment or just a simple tire rotation, you’ll have to do some detective work and check for three telltale signs:
1. Does the steering pull to one side?
If this happens when going straight on level pavement, then it’s probably just due to unequal front tire wear.
A steering pull to one side during straight-ahead driving is a sign that you need new tires or a wheel alignment. But if the pull happens when you turn, especially when turning to the left, it’s usually the result of suspension or steering problem. If it occurs when turning to either direction, then check other signs listed next.
2. Do your wheels have cupped wear?
Rounded wear on the outer edges of your tires can cause a pulling or shimmying sensation in the steering wheel and will definitely require an alignment.
You may also need an alignment if your vehicle exhibits a vibration that increases with speed and is more noticeable on straightaways than in turns.
3. Does the vehicle pull to one side when braking?
If your vehicle pulls to one side during heavy braking, it’s probably caused by an alignment problem resulting in a tire that is not tracking straight down the road (which leads to uneven wear).
If you notice a decrease in the pulling sensation when you apply greater pressure to the brake pedal, this indicates that the body roll is responsible for the pulling or shimmying sensation.
So you can see that a simple tire rotation may help your car look like it just got new tires, but it may not fix an alignment problem.
So if you suspect that your car needs an alignment after changing tires, don’t take chances. Get it back on an alignment rack where a technician can check for suspension problems and correct the steering and alignment to keep your vehicle performing its best.
Does changing tire affect alignment?
YES! The rules of physics apply to wheels as well as everything else, so when you replace a tire with one that is larger or smaller in diameter than the original one, it will affect your vehicle’s alignment.
And since a wheel and tire assembly weighs more or less than the original, this will also affect your vehicle’s balance. These factors can cause handling problems not only during normal driving but also under extreme conditions such as hard cornering and heavy braking.
So whenever you change out one or more tires on a vehicle, it’s important to get it back on an alignment rack immediately. Alignment is important for more than just handling, too: It can help reduce excessive tire wear and prevent unpredictable steering pull.
How soon after getting new tires should I get an alignment?
It depends on the brand and type of your tires. Each tire manufacturer recommends a different waiting period before an alignment is required. Read the information that comes with your new tires, or check the company’s Web site for specific recommendations.
Should I get an alignment after installing new wheels?
It depends on If you replace one or more of your vehicle’s wheels with larger or smaller ones, it will change not only its distance from the ground but also its weight distribution.
This can affect everything from handling to steering pull to wear and tear on other components such as suspension and brakes. So always get your vehicle back on an alignment rack after changing wheels.
should you get an alignment before new tires?
It may be possible to do a full alignment with new tires, but only if you already have a “tire alignment” indicator in your car.
If you don’t have this feature, there is a chance that one of the tires could be mis-positioned in relation to the other ones, and you could be compounding uneven tire wear. Without an alignment indicator, you’ll either need to replace all four tires before an alignment or rent time on an alignment rack and have each tire individually realigned.
How long after new tires should I get an alignment?
For a number of reasons (including the recommended break-in period of new tires), most manufacturers recommend that an alignment not be done for 600 miles or so after you install new tires. However, if you notice abnormal tire wear (such as irregular wear patterns) or feel that your vehicle is pulling to one side, it’s a good idea to get it aligned before this time period expires.
What requires a wheel alignment after replacement?
1. Tires: If your new tires are either larger or smaller than the stock ones, you must have an alignment done on your vehicle. This is especially critical for vehicles that have manufacturer-recommended tire pressure.
2. Wheels: You’ll need an alignment if you replace your wheels with ones that are different from the stock size, which affects their weight distribution, depending on their offset (the difference between the wheel’s diameter and its hub mounting surface).
3. Struts and shocks: These suspension components affect your vehicle’s handling and performance—especially over long periods of time. If you replace them, it is best to have an alignment done so that it can be adjusted back to the manufacturer’s original specs.
4. Driveshaft: A driveshaft is a critical component on vehicles such as trucks or SUVs. When you replace this, you should get your vehicle back onto an alignment rack for an inspection.
5. Brake rotors: Rotors are essential components to your braking system, especially when they need to be replaced after an accident or after being worn down through repetitive driving use.
What should I do if I’m not sure when my car will need an alignment?
The best way to ensure that your vehicle is performing at its optimum level is to maintain proper tire pressure and have regular inspections performed on suspension components such as struts and shocks.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.