The price for a new tire (mounted and balanced) can be anywhere from $125 to $400 each. Sometimes it can be even higher if you are opting for premium tires. Multiply that by four and it’s a pretty hefty investment. If wheel alignment in your car is out, you could lose all that money in short order. That’s why you should, at the very least, check wheel alignment before venturing out on a new set of tires though it’s best to have it checked periodically.
How does wheel alignment affect your tires? If the wheels are not aligned, it creates uneven wear, which will significantly reduce the life of your tires. The steering and suspension of your vehicle has wear points. They are bushings, ball and socket joints, and various other mechanical links. When the steering and suspension system is new and adjusted according to factory specs, the rate at which the tires wear is minimized and the vehicle handles smoothly.
Over time, the steering and suspension systems are jostled and hammered from normal driving. This produces wear in the parts listed above, causing the alignment to slip, resulting in poor cornering and handling, and significant increases in tire wear.
Every car has three alignment angles that have to be adjusted properly for handling and tire wear purposes. Automakers have built adjustment points into the steering and suspension that allow for re-alignment of the front end.
Tilt, in or out, from the top of the car is known as camber. Positive refers to outward tilting; negative refers to inward tilt. This angle is adjusted mechanically. Conditions that cause excessive camber are worn ball joints, control arm bushings, strut bearings and mounts, or excessively worn wheel bearings. These parts must be tight to ensure accurate alignment of the camber angle.
Toed-in and toed-out refer to how straight your tires are when moving forward in a straight line. This angle is called the toe. Just like a person can be pigeon toed or duck footed, so can your car. When this angle is out or in too far, tires wear down more quickly. This angle also affects whether your car’s steering wheel is straight. If the steering wheel is crooked, the toe is probably out. Excessive toe can be caused by worn tie rods, loose rack mounts, a worn idler arm, pitman arm, drag link assembly, or a worn rack-and-pinion or steering box. Before you can accurately set the toe angle, you must have tight steering linkage parts.
When you make an adjustment using your steering wheel while driving, it has a tendency to return to the center, or straightforward, position – this is the caster angle. When it needs adjustment, your vehicle will start to drift to the right or left.
Have your alignment checked when you have new tires installed as well as once or twice a year. This will add a lot of life to your tires and keep your BMW handling as it should. Bimmex offers Laser 4 Wheel Alignment for your vehicle. Give us a call and come see us at our Markham or Woodbridge location.