The unavoidable pothole, we can all recall that quiet drive down the road turning into a loud bang from a damaging pothole beneath our tires. According to a CBC article stating that Toronto along with Hamilton roads were voted worst in Ontario, roads in Ottawa, and Kingston also made the CAA list. At Level Auto approximately thirty percent of alignments that come into the facility are pothole related. Each week seeing damages from road hazards more frequently.
What creates a pothole?
The constant change of temperature causes the road to shrink and expand rapidly. The heavy vehicles that drive on top of the surface cause cracking in the asphalt. Water then gets into the cracks and the rapid low temperature causes the water to freeze and expand causing the asphalt to push up and vehicles driving by start to rip up the road and create potholes. Toronto spends 4.4 million in 2022 to fix damaged roads due to potholes. A new study by Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) finds drivers are paying $3 billion annually in higher vehicle operating costs due to poor roads, infrastructure and potholes.
Potholes can not only throw your alignment out of spec but also bend critical parts in your suspension. Items such as control arms, tie rods, and shocks can bend upon impact. There are limited adjustments to compensate for these impacts. These adjustments can only do so much, bigger impacts could lead to frame damage which can be more costly to repair.
In some areas of Toronto customers are getting their alignment done typically twice a year. This is mainly because of pothole hits, small curb run overs, and more aggressive driving to cope with road conditions. Having a wheel alignment that is out of spec could lead to off center steering wheels, unwanted pulling or drifting, tire wear, and an overall uncomfortable drive.
An inspection can save you time and money
A simple suspension inspection and alignment check on your vehicle is a good way to check if any issues are present. Parts can be worn out from being impacted, and as a result will throw an alignment out of specification. A technician can road test the vehicle, check tire pressure and as well look at the tires for any tell tale signs that there is a possible issue. Worn shocks will usually show signs of wear on the tire itself, a beating pattern on the tire will appear indicating the shocks need replacement.
With an inspection conducted at Level Auto it will give you peace of mind knowing that your vehicle’s suspension components are all in working condition. Having worn, bent parts on a vehicle can lead to vehicle breakdowns at the most inconvenient times. Suspension and wheel alignment should be checked before going on a long trip to ensure safe operation. For example, the cost of a suspension inspection and alignment check is roughly $60.00. A small price to pay to have a piece of mind and avoid a breakdown situation.
Having a vehicle that not only functions well when driving but also handles well is key to overall happiness of a driver. Having a car that does not feel safe when driving is a concern. For example, a worn part, like a ball joint, can fail and cause a safety catastrophe. When a ball joint breaks it can cause the vehicle’s tire to cave in and break and damage a lot of other components with it. The price to repair skyrockets, and would have been more cost efficient to just address the broken ball joint which could have been repaired for a fraction of the cost.
A word of advice on wheel alignment
Through experience as a licensed mechanic who has been doing alignment for over 25 years, I see a lot of avoidable breakdowns. Doing routine inspections and having your vehicle checked out every six months is crucial to saving money and avoiding breakdown. Worn suspension parts can be caught early and leave you in a better safety predicament. Let’s face it, doing more routine maintenance and making sure your vehicle is in safe condition is part of vehicle ownership. The cost of repairs and maintenance is not always factored in when buying a vehicle and most customers are upset when it arises and look at it as an unnecessary burden. These inspections if done early in ownership can lead to items being fixed in a priority based repairs. We can let you know what needs to be done first and what can wait. Prioritizing your repairs allows you to complete and reduce and subsequently complete all repairs in a reasonable time limit.
How often should a wheel alignment be done?
Wheel alignments should be a regular maintenance item. We recommend doing a wheel alignment check every year if the car is being used daily. Tire pressures should be maintained according to the door sticker that is located on the driver side door or pillar. It is important to do your part to maintain good tire pressure as low tire pressure can cause pulling, and tire wear. A small check you can do to know if your vehicle requires an alignment is look at the overall tire condition, if the tire is wearing unevenly and shows abnormal wear it is time to bring the car into the shop for an inspection.
If the vehicle is shaking and giving a vibration this is a sign that it could need a wheel balancing. We have the right equipment to diagnose wheel vibration. By utilizing our Road Force balancer we can pretty much see how every tire will behave on the road before even putting that tire on the car. Our Road Force balancer goes a step further and even tells us where to place each tire to minimize vibration and pull. Now that eliminates customer complaints and hassle to the customer returning for a misbehaving tire concern.
Where to get the best wheel alignment?
Level Auto can service all makes and models. The latest in 3D imaging wheel alignment with all current specifications. The art of achieving every alignment with pinpoint accuracy has always been the ideology of the company. The licensed mechanics who work on the vehicles combined have decades of experience. A welcomed experience to a car owner. Providing satisfaction and quality you won’t be disappointed in.