WHEEL ALIGNMENT

Wheel alignment is part of standard automobile maintenance that consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that the vehicle travel is straight and true, without pulling to one side. When your car rolled off the manufacturer assembly line, it came preset with special angles that position your wheels correctly. When your wheels are out of alignment, your tires aren’t pointing in the right direction. This will affect your steering and suspension, but more importantly, it could affect your safety and the durability of your tires and all the parts controlling them.

 

WHY IS A WHEEL ALIGNMENT SO IMPORTANT?

Proper wheel alignment helps your tires last longer, improves gas mileage, provides safer handling and ensures optimal drivability. It helps your vehicle drive smoother, requiring less energy to keep going, potentially saving a ton of fuel depending on how much alignment was required. That’s what Paul`s Auto Repair is all about, helping you get the most out of your car, for as long as you own it. Paul`s Auto Repair has all the services for your alignment needs.

 

HOW DO VEHICLES LOSE THEIR WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

If you drive through pot holes, bad roads, rough surface or hit a curb, your alignment can be greatly affected. Misaligned wheels can cause a host of problems, including uneven tire wear. Wheel alignment can be thrown off by:

 

- Pot holes

- Hitting the curb

- Bumping into concrete parking stalls

- Wear and tear

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T GET MY WHEELS ALIGNED?

Without proper alignment, tires wear down a lot faster. Poor alignment can shorten tire life by thousands of miles and compromise very crucial steering and suspension parts. You will most likely notice something is wrong while you’re driving. Your vehicle will probably not handle as well as it should and, in the most extreme cases, you could have a pretty difficult time maintaining control of your ride altogether. Alignment angles are measured in tenths and hundredths of degrees or inches. Even a slight misalignment can cause a lot of uneven and premature tire wear. Put your next alignment in the hands of an alignment pro. Call Paul`s Auto Repair today!

 

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY ALIGNMENT CHECKED?

We recommend an alignment check with every other oil change. Make sure you have your alignment checked every 6,000 miles. Even the slightest, tiniest alignment issue can accelerate uneven tire wear. You drive through pot holes, gravely stretches of road, or knock your wheels on the curb while making a turn. All these things can impact the way your wheels and tires sit, throwing off alignment in an instant. If it’s been awhile since your last alignment, it’s time for a checkup.

 

WARNING SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS THAT COULD INDICATE YOUR VEHICLE NEEDS A WHEEL ALIGNMENT

If you are noticing any of the following alignment issues or you are unsure about your current alignment, please give us a call. Tire misalignment can be so subtle, you may not even realize it. Schedule an alignment check at Paul`s Auto Repair today!

 

- Vehicle pulling to the left or right.

- Wandering on a level, straight road.

- Uneven or rapid tire wear

- Your steering wheel is crooked when driving straight

- Squealing tires

- Poor gas mileage

 

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE TO CALIBRATE MY VEHICLE’S WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

A successful tire alignment hinges on using advanced computerized alignment equipment. Every vehicle has unique alignment specifications, fractions of a degree, undetectable to the naked eye, determined by the vehicle manufacturer for each make and model. The size, length, weight and intended use of the vehicle all play a role. We use a special computerized alignment machine pre-loaded with every vehicle’s alignment specifications. You will receive a print out displaying the alignment angle specifications, your angles before adjustments and angles after adjustments are made. At Paul`s Auto Repair, we provide precise computerized alignments for any vehicle using this special equipment.

 

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PERFORM AN ALIGNMENT?

The typical alignment on an economy sedan takes about an hour under ideal circumstances. But every vehicle is different, with varying degrees of needs, making it difficult to offer a standard wait time. Wait times all depend on your vehicle type and its present condition. A utility or performance vehicle may require additional labor. When fasteners and hardware are rusted or seized, extra time may be required. With all the angles that come into play, each wheel could have a minimum of three alignment angles that need adjustment. Caster, camber and toe. That’s potentially 12 adjustments total. 

 

WHAT WHEEL ALIGNMENT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?

We offer two alignment services to cover all your alignment needs:

 

1.) ALIGNMENT CHECK

- Inspect steering and suspension system, including tire condition and air pressure.

- Put vehicle on alignment rack, mount and compensate laser sensors.

- Print out alignment readings.

 

2.) STANDARD ALIGNMENT

- Inspect steering and suspension system, including tire condition and air pressure.

- Put vehicle on alignment rack, mount and compensate laser sensors.

- Print out initial alignment readings.

- Adjust camber, caster, and toe angles, if adjustable, to manufacturer specifications.

- Print out final alignment readings to verify alignment is within specification.

- Road test vehicle — to make sure all settings are performing properly.

   

WHAT ARE YOUR STEERING AND SUSPENSION REPLACEMENT AND REPAIR SERVICES?

Parts that ensure proper alignment can over time wear out or get damaged from weather and driving conditions and become a major issue for the drivability and continued alignment of your ride. Steering and suspension play a major role in keeping your alignment set, but if a part on your steering or suspension is worn out or broken, your alignment can’t be properly set without replacing the part. If we feel you need any crucial parts replaced, we will be able to tell during the alignment check. Key parts we repair or replace include:

 

- Ball joints

- Bushings

- Sway bar links

- Center links

- Idler arms/pitman arms

- Rack and pinion units

- Tie rod ends/sleeves

- CV joints/boots

- CV axle half shafts

- Shock absorbers

- Struts/cartridges

- Coil springs

- Universal joints and springs

 

MORE THAN YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHEEL ALIGNMENT

Really complex suspension angles are measured and a variety of suspension components are adjusted during a wheel alignment at Paul`s Auto Repair. It is an important suspension-tuning tool that greatly influences the operation of the vehicle's tires. The following settings are dependent on the intended use of your vehicle and manufacturer recommendations.

 

CAMBER

Camber plays a major role in your cornering and stability. To best understand camber you’re going to want to use your feet . Stand up, place all your weight on the outside of both feet, that is called positive camber. Now do the reverse and place all your weight on the inside of your feet, that is negative camber. Positive camber is used to improve ride quality and vehicle stability while negative camber is common in high performance vehicles that require better cornering. While some positive or negative camber is good, too much of either is bad. 

 

CASTER

Caster provides directional stability to your vehicle, the ability to stay on a straight course with little or no effort. The best way to understand the caster setting is to look at the bicycle. Caster is the reason your bicycle steers in a straight line even after you take your hands off the handlebar. That’s because the front spindle on your bicycle has a forward angle (caster) built in. Your car’s caster works in the same way so when your car travels straight down the road, little handling on your part is required. Caster also provides returnability after completing a turn. Your steering wheel spins back to the “straight ahead” position.

 

TOE IN & TOE OUT

To fully understand this alignment angle, you’ll want to walk like a penguin. Point your feet out - that is considered toe out. Now point your feet inwards - that is toe in. Apply these position to your front and rear tires, and you now understand toe alignment. Proper toe settings make it possible for the least amount of resistance to occur when your tires spin. Toe problems are the leading cause of most tire problems and tire wear.

 

THRUST ANGLE

The thrust and thrust angle relate to the positioning angles for your back tires. It is the degree in which the back tires try to steer the front of the vehicle. To align a vehicle accurately, it is important to understand how the rear tires are pointed (thrust angle) to accurately adjust the front tires. When the thrust angle is off, the back of the vehicle steers one way and the front another. The vehicle is fighting itself causing excessive tire scrub, adding extra stress to steering and suspension components.

 

GEOMETRIC CENTERLINE

The geometric centerline is physically represented as the center line between the front two and back two tires, established by connecting a line between the theoretical midpoint of the front spindles and the theoretical midpoint of the rear axle. It is used as a reference line for rear individual toe angles and as a reference line for thrust angle. Every alignment angle is based off of it.

 

STEERING ANGLE SENSOR

The steering angle sensor (SAS), is an electronic monitoring device that measures the position, force and turning rate of your steering wheel. It reports those results to the various vehicle systems depending on it, like your electronic stability control and electric power steering. It communicates and supplies your unique driving habits so that your car steers in harmony with your driving habits. In order for your alignment settings to function properly, the SAS must be reset. This is necessary for your computer to correctly process the changes that have occurred.

 

STEERING AXIS INCLINATION

The steering axis inclination (SAI) basically operates like your caster, helping your steering wheel return to the straight-ahead position after making a turn or changing lanes. SAI is not adjustable. So, if your SAI happens to be off, this means part of your suspension is damaged or worn and will need to be replaced in order for the SAI to function as intended. 

 

RIDE HEIGHT

Your ride height will need to be precise for your vehicle to be in perfect working order because all alignment angles will be based off your chassis height. Every vehicle has a specific ride height. If it is below that height, that’s an indication that parts are worn and may need to be replaced in order for your car to align properly. Your ride height will determine the positioning of everything controlling your ride and have a positive or negative effect on these components or alignment settings:

- Size and position of suspension and steering parts

- Component mounting points

- Range of motion of your steering

- Static alignment angles

- Intended use of the vehicle.

 

Need to schedule an Alignment Check? Call us now!

 

Our Location

133 Cuttermill Road
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 498-8880 or (516) 498-2910
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Hours of Operation

Monday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
After hours night drop system available 7 days a week

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