Staying safe on the road means taking good care of a vehicle’s maintenance needs, and wheel alignment, says Chris Lett, owner of Branigans, a Burleigh Heads wheel and tyre workshop, is one of the big ones.
“Poor wheel alignment makes a vehicle harder to handle, and poor handling can cause accidents,” he explains.
Wheel alignment is simply a matter of ensuring that all the wheels work together because they’re all adjusted to the right angle in relation to the car. Apart from making driving pleasanter and safer, proper wheel alignment also helps to extend the lifespan of tyres.
Symptoms of Poor Wheel Alignment
An alert driver can quickly pick up the symptoms that indicate the need for correction of wheel alignment. According to Mr Lett, people will notice uncomfortable vibration when driving. And, because the wheels direct the trajectory of the car, they may find that they keep having to adjust the steering, even when they’re travelling on a completely straight stretch of road.
“If it’s very bad, they’ll feel like they’re fighting the vehicle all the time,” says Lett. “It keeps pulling to one side and it’s harder to keep the car from wandering off in its own direction.”
If a driver is still not sure, they can watch how the steering wheel behaves after cornering. The steering wheel should return to a central position after turning.
If someone has been driving with poor wheel alignment for some time, they’ll see the evidence on the tyres. Uneven tyre wear is a strong indication that they’ve already passed the time when wheel alignment should have been seen to.
Average Frequency for Wheel Alignment
With smooth driving on tarred roads, a car’s wheels may only need alignment every two to three years. But, warns Chris, one may need to have it seen to more frequently. A single nasty bump, such as the kind a driver gets when they hit a pothole or curbstone, could be enough to knock the wheels out of kilter. “Naturally, the same applies if your vehicle has experienced some kind of impact or accident, and if you’re driving on rough roads, you may even need to attend to wheel alignment in less than a year from the last time it was done.”
Branigans is fully equipped to attend to all its clients’ wheel and tyre related needs, and Mr Lett recommends enquiring about wheel alignment whenever they replace or repair a tyre. “Branigans staff will often notice signs of incorrect wheel alignment and alert motorists to the need for an adjustment,” he says. “Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to ask.”
Attending to Wheel Alignment is a Cost-Saver
Apart from the fact that better handling could mean the difference between avoiding an accident and actually having one, there are plenty of cost-savings related to having the wheel alignment tweaked when necessary. To begin with, the tyres and suspension will last longer – and the vehicle will be more fuel-efficient. “You could lose around 7 percent in fuel efficiency if your wheels aren’t properly aligned,” says Lett.
All in all, it makes good sense to have a car’s wheel alignment checked, and the more often the car is driven, the further it’s driven, and the rougher driving conditions faced, the more frequently it should be done.
“Branigans is here to take care of its clients,” says Chris. “The team will be happy to show you why they think you should go for a wheel alignment. It’s not an overly pricey or time-consuming exercise, and the benefits far outweigh the costs.”
For further information, visit or call Chris and his team at Second Hand Tyres Gold Coast | Branigans Budget Tyres by contacting the Service Centres in Burleigh Heads (07) 5535 2660 or Southport (07) 5591 8633.