Wheel alignment is one of the many services offered by most tire repair shops in Winnipeg. But many drivers don’t know how integral this service is to factors like road safety, fuel economy and even ride comfort. For Winnipeg drivers, wheel alignment is especially key given all that our tires endure during icy, cold winter months.
In this post, we provide you with a comprehensive overview of what a wheel alignment service consists of, the reasons your wheels may need alignment service and where you can find a qualified vehicle mechanic in Winnipeg.
What is wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment is a mechanical service performed on vehicles to re-angle a car’s wheels to the manufacturer’s original specifications. To ensure this highly technical procedure is performed correctly, quality tire shops will enlist the support of computer devices to guarantee precise alignment on all four vehicle wheels. In addition to these computers, mechanics make use of a wheel alignment machine that adjusts the car’s suspension and squares a car’s wheel and axles with each other.
We also have an article on winter tires for Winnipeg winters that you might find useful!
Why is it important?
In a city like Winnipeg, where varying weather patterns create unstable road conditions like potholes and cracks, the response time of your vehicle’s steering can mean the difference between a serious accident and a minor dent or scrape. Just like many aspects of your vehicle’s performance, steering response time is impacted and improved by regular wheel alignments.
Here are a few more vehicle functions impacted by wheel alignment:
- Tire lifespan. Tire wheels will naturally fall out of alignment the longer we drive our vehicle. As long as you are re-aligning your wheels every two to three years, the impact on your alignment should be negligible. If you avoid seeking this service for longer than the recommended time frame, the treads on your wheels will wear unevenly resulting in the need to buy new tires prematurely.
- Steering and handling. When you’re driving a vehicle that’s out of alignment, you’ll notice it tends to pull in one direction, making it harder to handle and easier to lose control. As exemplified above, this can result in a serious accident and causes a ton of unnecessary strain on other vehicle mechanics. One of the telltale signs of misalignment in a vehicle is a vibrating sensation in the steering wheel. If you’re experiencing these vibrations, it’s likely your vehicle’s in need of an adjustment.
- Overall vehicle safety. Winnipeggers are conditioned to check their car’s oil on a regular basis but bi-annual wheel alignment appointments aren’t always on their radars. Going too long without a tire rotation increases the risk of a delayed response time to whatever barrier or hazard may be obstructing the road in front of you.
Here’s an article covering tire repair in Winnipeg that you might find helpful as well.
How often should you make a wheel alignment appointment?
For those who drive standard vehicle models, our mechanics at Birchwood Tire Shops recommend seeking wheel alignment services every 8,000 kilometres. A good way to remember when your vehicle is due for an alignment check is to schedule an appointment every other time you’re in for an oil change.
This recommendation changes for sports car drivers and cars with wider tires. People who drive these cars should plan to take their vehicle in for this service at least twice annually.
If you’re looking to schedule a tire rotation, make sure the service centre you’re choosing meets the following criteria:
- Specialized tire technicians. These are vehicle mechanics who are specially trained on the intricacies of tires.
- State-of-the-art technologies. As discussed above, modern wheel alignment technologies allow mechanics to perform the most accurate services. Make sure the service centre you’re booking with is equipped with the latest tire technologies.
- Standardized pricing. You should be provided with a comprehensive quote before you pay for your service. A good service centre will also phone you with any and all updates regarding changes to the initial service you discussed.
- Excellent online ratings and reviews. Research the service centre before you book an appointment and read up on other customer’s experiences.
Birchwood Tire Shops meet and surpass the above mentioned criteria. Learn more about our tire services by visiting our FAQ page.
Have you ever considered steel rims for your vehicle? If so we have a blog post discussing steel rims here as well.
What are some of the signs my tires are in need of a rotation?
If you can’t remember the last time your car alignment was checked, you should schedule an appointment with a top-rated mechanic like the ones you’ll find at Birchwood Tires. You should also inspect your vehicle for these signs of misalignment:
- Uneven tire damage in the form of inconsistent wear-down on the tread surface
- Tire noise such as squeaking, especially during braking
- A pulling sensation to the right or left during acceleration
- Steering wheel vibration
At Birchwood Tires, wheel alignments are one of our most frequently performed services. When our tire mechanics provide other standard wheel services like tire changes, they make sure to check for alignment issues in an effort to ensure you don’t leave the shop without feeling confident your vehicle—and its wheels—are able to keep you safe on Winnipeg roads.
Regardless of where you’re located in Winnipeg, you’ll find a Birchwood Tires location near you. You can schedule an appointment by reaching out to our appointment team through our online appointment forum.