WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TIRE ALIGNMENT

Tire alignment, also known as wheel alignment, can help your tires perform properly and help them last longer. It can also improve handling and keep your vehicle from pulling in one direction or vibrating strangely on the road.

Alignment

WHAT IS TIRE ALIGNMENT?

Alignment refers to an adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension – the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. It is not an adjustment of the tires or wheels themselves. The key to proper alignment is adjusting the angles of the tires which affect how they make contact with the road.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A TIRE ALIGNMENT?

There are a couple ways to tell if your car needs a tire alignment. If you’ve noticed one or more of these indicators, you should have your alignment checked by a licensed service technician immediately.

  • Uneven tread wear
  • Vehicle pulling to the left or right
  • Your steering wheel is off center when driving straight
  • Steering wheel vibration

CAMBER, TOE, & CASTER

When a technician checks your tire alignment, he or she is mainly concerned with three things:

  1. CAMBER

This is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, respectively, indicates improper alignment and will need to be adjusted. Worn bearings, ball joints, and other wheel-suspension parts may contribute to camber misalignment.

  1. TOE

Distinct from camber alignment, toe alignment is the extent to which your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above. If that’s confusing, just stand up and look down at your feet. Angle them inward toward the center of your body. When the tires on your car are angled the same way (remember, we’re thinking in terms of birds-eye-view), we call this toe-in alignment. Angle your feet outward and you have toe-out alignment. Both require adjustment.

  1. CASTER

Your caster angle helps balance steering, stability, and cornering. Specifically, it’s the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle. If you have positive caster, the steering axis will tilt toward the driver. Negative caster, on the other hand, means the steering axis tilts toward the front of your vehicle.

Alignment-Issue-Guide

WHY TIRE ALIGNMENT MATTERS

Improper wheel or tire alignment can cause your tires to wear unevenly and prematurely. Here are some specific types of undue tread wear attributable to misalignment:

FEATHERING

Tires are “feathered” when the tread is smooth on one side and sharp on another. This is usually a sign of poor toe alignment.

CAMBER WEAR

This strain of tread wear means the inside or outside of the tread is significantly more worn than the center of the tread. As its name implies, positive or negative camber causes this type of wear.

HEEL/TOE WEAR

This happens when one side of your tread blocks wears down more quickly than the other in a circumferential direction. When you run your hand over the tread, it will look and feel like saw teeth when viewed from the side. Heel/toe wear could be a sign of under inflation and/or lack of rotation.

If you’re experiencing any of these unusual wear patterns, you should have a technician check your alignment. While tire wear prevention is a good reason to keep your wheel alignment in check, the consequences of misalignment can also play out in overall vehicle performance. A car that pulls to one side or steers erratically, for example, probably has an alignment problem.

TIRE BALANCING

Distinct from tire alignment, tire or wheel balancing refers to compensation for any weight imbalances in the tire/wheel combination and is often performed in conjunction with wheel alignment. There are two basic types of tire/wheel imbalance that need correction – static (single plane) and dynamic (dual plane).

Static balance addresses balance on only one plane – vertical movement which can cause vibration. A dynamic imbalance, on the other hand, addresses balance in two planes – vertical movement and lateral movement. Both types of imbalance require the use of a special balancing machine to help even things out.

To begin balancing your tires, a technician will mount them on the correct rims and adjust the pressure to optimal inflation. Then each tire goes on the center bore of a balancing machine. The machine spins the tire at a high speed to measure the wheel/tire combination imbalance. It signals how much weight the tech should add to balance out the tire and the areas where said weight is needed.

Tire balancing is essential for proper tire care for the same reason as wheel alignment: prevention of premature tread wear. Having tires aligned and balanced every 5,000 to 6,000 miles can help maximize their lifespan and overall performance.

Service hours: Monday-Friday 8AM-6PM / Saturday 9AM-3PM / Sunday Closed

Contact Texas Auto Service (281) 938-2059

Schedule Service at Texas Auto

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TIRE ALIGNMENT

How Often Should You Change Spark Plugs

spark plugs bad

Determining how often to change a spark plug on a vehicle involves several factors. Checking the owner’s manual will reveal the recommended plug change interval. Driving conditions and overall mechanical shape will impact recommended spark plug service, too.

Spark Plugs Have Improved

Spark plug and vehicle technologies have come a long way. Some cars in the 1950s had a recommended interval of 5,000 miles for changing the plugs. Today, through advancements in design and materials, some cars can meet or exceed 100,000 miles without a change. A 4-cylinder 2009 Hyundai Accent has its first recommended spark plug change at 30,000 miles for both normal and severe conditions. Likewise, a 4-cylinder 1990 Honda Accord recommends a plug change every 30,000 miles or two years.

“Long-Life” Plugs

Several manufacturers advertise “long life” spark plugs. Using precious metals such as silver, platinum, gold and iridium, these plugs have an advertised life close to 100,000 miles. An 8-cylinder 2010 Hyundai Genesis has a recommended plug change interval of 97,500 miles, driving in normal conditions, using iridium-coated plugs.

Poor Plug Symptoms

If you detect performance problems like slow pickup or poor gas mileage, check your spark plugs as a possible cause. Replace them if you find evidence of damage to the insulator (body near the head) and the electrode (metal points that form the “gap”).

Fix Vehicle Problems to Extend Plug Life

Various mechanical conditions contribute to quicker spark plug wear. The piston rings may wear out, letting oil seep in and foul plugs. The distributor and ignition wires may wear out, resulting in less electrical power delivered to the plugs.

With continuous development of new technology for vehicles and plugs, spark plug lives will keep increasing. Removing and checking the plugs yourself can give you valuable clues on when they need replacement. Changing the plugs when needed is a cheap investment for keeping your car running strong.

Service hours: Monday-Friday 8AM-6PM / Saturday 9AM-3PM / Sunday Closed

Contact Texas Auto Service (281) 938-2059

Schedule Service at Texas Auto

How Often Should You Change Spark Plugs

TEXAS AUTO OCTOBER NEWSLETTER

Our goal at Texas Auto is to make your car buying experience the best possible. At Texas Auto we pride ourselves on being the most reliable and trustworthy used vehicle dealer around. Texas Auto has the largest selection of pre-owned vehicles in the Clear Lake Area!

October is Corvette month at Texas Auto

The Chevrolet Corvette was unveiled in January, 1953. The original Corvettes were only sold to celebrities and special customers. GM wanted its cars to be seen driven by elite to build the sports car’s fame. To say the least, the Corvette was an instant star, generating a cascade of attention from the media and the public. That was the first generation. Fast forward seven generations and Corvettes are owned and loved by many. Texas Auto has several Corvettes available- come test drive one today.

Click here to see Corvette inventory

October Service Coupons

Before your next trip to Texas Auto, check out these four printable coupons. Whether you need a quick fix, or a more intense repair, Texas Auto has the knowledgeable staff and fantastic service to keep your car running the way you know it can.

October Texas Auto Coupons

October is breast cancer awareness month. Texas Auto will be donating a porting of October sales to The Rose, Houston’s leading non-profit breast cancer organization, providing mammography and diagnostic services to all women. The Rose Website

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Upcoming Special Events

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Saturday, October 31, 11AM-2PM: Bring your dog and join us for Yappyween! Prizes awarded for best human and best dog Halloween costume! Dog treats, candy, and other goodies will be provided! Fun for all ages!

Saturday, November 14, 11AM-4PM: “Toys for Tots” JEEP SHOW! Door prizes, food, drinks, games, and more! The best Jeeps in Texas will be here! Please bring a new unwrapped toy to donate and fill the Jeep!

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TEXAS AUTO OCTOBER NEWSLETTER

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October Texas Auto Coupons

October Texas Auto Coupons

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. A lot of progress has been made but there is still a long way to go! Please help by donating to The Rose.

About The Rose: Board Certified Radiologists, specialized technical staff, two Mammography and Diagnostic Imaging Centers plus a fleet of Mobile Mammography vans offer advanced breast cancer screening and diagnostic services including mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies and access to treatment to more than 35,000 women annually. Since its launch in 1986, The Rose has served nearly 500,000 patients and is now the leading nonprofit breast health care organization in southeast Texas.

To meet the needs of insured and uninsured women (and sometimes men) in the Houston area and surrounding counties, The Rose depends on revenue from paying customers, grants and donations. You can be a part of the caring community that makes The Rose more than a health care provider. Donate, volunteer, or schedule your appointment online or by calling 281-484-4708.

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Service hours: Monday-Friday 8AM-6PM / Saturday 9AM-3PM / Sunday Closed

Contact Texas Auto Service (281) 938-2059

Schedule Service at Texas Auto

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month