Freeman Cebu Business

Wheel alignment a must!

STANDING START - Lord Seno - The Freeman

A friend called me a few days ago asking about some problem with this car.  He started the conversation saying that his car is practically brandnew as he only bought it in 2019.  He was complaining about how fast his front tires got worn so fast and how his newly replaced tires now are visibly starting to wear quickly and unevenly.

I told him to have it aligned as soon as possible as there might be something wrong with the steering geometry of the car of the suspension.

When your car is brand new, its handling is at its best because the wheels are properly aligned and the tires are appropriately inflated with full tread. But with each driven kilometer and each passing day of your usage, your car’s performance deteriorates. Now, as to how fast the deterioration would be is up to how well you maintain it.

You may have to check and adjust your tire pressure regularly or every time you visit the gas station.  Why? Temperature changes, leakages, punctures- these play a part in determining tire life. Many tires have a useful life of 30,000 to 40,000 kilometers. But a misaligned steering geometry or a faulty suspension part can ruin those expensive tires in a few kilometers.

A typical set of tires lasts for three to five years if driven daily. It is less clear how frequently we need to check on wheel alignment but the Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS) of most shops include wheel alignment.

The types of things that impact your car’s tires are - suspension and steering are, obviously, the normal wear and tear, variation in weather and road conditions such as potholes, uneven pavement, or high curbs and the changes in weather conditions

Road grit, dirt, salt water may corrode or otherwise impact your steering and suspension parts or other mechanical components over time. With the older cars, the steering joints have nipples to allow for lubrication.  In newer cars which have pre-lubed steering joints, regular check-up is needed. The heavier the use, the more frequent the alignment checks should be.

A quarterly check-up routine is also practiced to make your tires stay in good condition and wear more evenly.  It is recommended to perform tire rotation and tire balancing at given intervals. In other words, your front wheels or tires should be moved to the back or from side to side after they are checked for damage or tears.

Symptoms of misaligned steering or damaged steering and suspension components are when the car pulls to one side,  when your tires have uneven wear and when there are unusual sounds (usually clanking) while steering or when the car hits a bump. If you encounter one of these indicators, go straight to a reputable service center as soon as possible.

So back to the story. My friend proceeded to a nearby alignment shop and called me after saying his car was fixed. He forgot that his neighbor, who happens to be a mechanic, replaced a steering part of his car called a tie-rod. This was after he hit a big unmarked pothole. After the part was replaced, the car was never aligned back to factory specs. That explains the excessive wear of the front tires.

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