Replacing your car’s struts is a major job, but it’s one that can be well worth the effort. After doing the work, though, you may wonder if you need to have an alignment done as well.
In most cases, the answer is no and yes (depends) – unless there was some sort of damage to the vehicle’s suspension system during the strut replacement process. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about getting an alignment after replacing struts.
What is alignment?
Alignment simply means adjusting a foreground element to a certain position relative to a particular point of reference. Each type of alignment has its own specific rules for how items are placed so they appear straight and not crooked when viewed from different angles.
Do I Need an Alignment After Replacing Struts?
Alignment after strut replacements is important to maintain the vehicle’s stability and handling consistency.
Vehicle steering systems are designed with camber, caster, and toe in mind, which means that any component change will alter alignment settings by how it affects these calculations. These alterations may also affect wear on tires or even tire life; though less common for struts than other components like shocks which can induce severe vibrations if not properly aligned.
The procedure for aligning a vehicle after strut replacement requires you to measure toe-in or out of each wheel before taking into account caster adjustments due to the rearward pressure created upon strut installation making that adjustment necessary prior to doing anything.
Can Wheel Alignment Affect Struts?
Wheel alignment is something that some people might consider to be done in order to reduce wear and tear on tires, but there’s more. Did you know? Wheel alignment can affect struts! Though it may not be noticeable right away, misalignment between the front of your car and the rear will increase the effect these two parts have on one another.
When aligned correctly, less force contact is required for them both- so they don’t wear down quite so quickly. Aligning these parts isn’t just an issue for brakes & tires either- it will also help with noise reduction.
How Do you Know if You Need an Alignment?
If you’re experiencing pain, uncomfortable steering, or dust and dirt accumulating on the tread it may be time for an alignment. Enhancing tire life and extending the life of your car’s shocks (if equipped) can also be achieved with a simple alignment.
An annual inspection is necessary to detect problems before they happen rather than after. So check out all four of these tells and get an alignment if you need one.
How Long will a Wheel Alignment Take?
It depends on how badly the alignment is out. On average, mechanics can sometimes align a car in 30 minutes or less. Wheel alignments are an often misunderstood component of vehicle maintenance and many mechanics will try to talk you into getting a full brake job when it’s just your wheels that need help.
Granted, if your problem is more severe than the average driver has encountered then it might take some time to correct but there are services who offer free estimates for this sort of thing so you know what you’re getting into before deciding to get work done.
How Often Should You Get Wheel Alignment?
The frequency of wheel alignment changes with the type of vehicle, if your wheels were recently repaired, and how often you drive. It is highly recommended that alignments be done at least every 12 months for routine checks to maintain safe driving conditions.
Tire wear also plays a factor in how often an alignment check should be implemented. If the cost of the service(s) exceeds 75% (diminished tire tread plus brake/suspension pad condition), it may not make financial sense for one to choose to do otherwise.
Checking earlier than 12 months should only happen once there is visible sign that an irregularity has occurred to justify or demand possible expensive repairs later down the road or before right away.
Finding out if you need an alignment after replacing your struts can seem daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! We’ve put together a few questions that will help you determine whether or not it’s time for an alignment after strut replacement. If any of these sound like they apply to you, then yes you’ll want to get your car aligned as soon as possible.