Most Houston folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by drivers in Houston is a periodic alignment inspection.
Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in Houston. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Houston.
Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents and can seriously damage your vehicle. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident since the vehicle may not steer properly.
One or more wheels on your vehicle can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Houston street. An accident — even a minor one — that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.
If you have had wheel damage to your vehicle, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any service center will give you that piece of auto advice. But good vehicle care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Lucas Auto Care in Houston, we can take care of that for you.
Your owner’s manual or Lucas Auto Care can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn’t, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot — and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot — then you may want to consider alignment more often. Ask the pros at Lucas Auto Care for a recommendation.
If your vehicle is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your vehicle pulls to one side when you drive around Houston. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.
Houston drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.
When you get an alignment inspection, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.
This may seem like a lot of bother for drivers, but it’s a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Houston residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.
Lucas Auto Care
12600 Grant Road
Houston, TX 77429