Your car might have an alignment problem if: it drifts or pulls to one side, your steering wheel's off center, you have uneven tire wear or your car doesn't feel like it handles right. When all of a vehicle's wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other object are great ways to knock your car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.
Driving for an extended time when you're out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. This can be dangerous and expensive. You'll have to replace your tires sooner, but even worse - you may cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive.
The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars. The adjustment can go three different ways. The first adjustment is called toe. The next adjustment is called camber. And finally, there is castor. The engineers who designed your vehicle determined the alignment settings that will give you the best handling and safety.
There are several things involved in an alignment check. First, there's an inspection of the steering and suspension - it should be checked to see if anything's bent or broken. Then the tire condition needs to be inspected. From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle's center line. If the back wheels aren't adjustable, the technician determines the direction they push and then aligns the front wheels to match.
Like most things, your manufacturer has suggested a mileage interval for having your alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that's given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive. It's better to have your alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear - by then, the damage is done.
Getting your alignment checked when needed is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety. For more information about alignment, call Valley Auto Care at 952-431-2700.
Auto Service Resources.
Videos and articles designed to help you diagnose and maintain your vehicle.
Archive for October 2010
Date: October 28, 2010 11:51 AM - Category: Alignment
Date: October 20, 2010 9:56 PM - Category:
Economics of Maintenance For Apple Valley Auto Owners
Date: October 20, 2010 2:26 PM - Category: Maintenance
Buying a new car in Apple Valley is always a big financial decision. The allure of that new car smell is powerful, to be sure. But what if your current car is still in good shape? How do you decide?
People in Apple Valley who've been used to driving a new car every three to five years may be having second thoughts in this economy. For many, the question is, how does the certainty of a new car payment stack up against uncertain repairs for a car that may be out of warranty?
For purposes of our discussion, let's assume you live right here in Apple Valley and have a five year old vehicle. It's now paid off. If you keep it, you fear that there'll be some repairs over the next five years, but you really don't know what to expect. For help we turned to Edmunds.com.
Edmunds.com has compiled maintenance and repair information for cars and trucks. With this data, they project likely service and repair costs for a particular make and model. They're able to use manufacturer's maintenance schedules and repair histories for the projections.
Of course, these projections can't predict what will happen to your vehicle in Apple Valley, but they do give you information to use in your decision.
Let's look at the numbers for a five year old Toyota Camry V-6. In this example, the combined maintenance and repairs for the five year period is $5,748. This works out to an average of $96 a month. The year-by-year averages range from a low of $49 a month to $124 a month.
So compare $96 a month with a new car payment. And it's actually better news than that; you would still have maintenance expenses with a new car, so the repair element could be less than half that figure.
Here are numbers for some other five year old vehicles from around Apple Valley:
- Ford Escape - $116 a month
- Chevy Silverado - $131 a month
- Jeep Grand Cherokee - $138 a month
- Hyundai Accent - $85 a month.
Now, if your vehicle is older than five years, have a chat with your Apple Valley service advisor at Valley Auto Care. We see hundreds of vehicles through our bays every month and we know your car. See if there's any particular problem common with your vehicle that you might see over the next couple of years.
And of course, the best way to keep future repair costs down is to take care of all your scheduled maintenance. This is especially important in older vehicles that have had time to accumulate some deposits.
There are special motor oil formulations that help clean older engines and protect and recondition their seals and gaskets.
We hope this eliminates some of the unknowns in the decision to keep or trade.
Give us a call if you have any questions:
Valley Auto Care
7125 151st St. West, Suite 105
Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
Which Item is Most Stolen from Vehicles in Apple Valley?
Date: October 7, 2010 1:13 PM - Category: Automotive News
Which item is most often stolen from vehicles in Apple Valley?
- Air Bag
- DVD System
Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft in Apple Valley – approximately 50,000 a year are stolen across the country. New airbags cost about $1,000, but go for $50 to $200 on the black market in Apple Valley.
Stolen airbags are making their way back into cars that have been in an accident. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.
Contact Valley Auto Care for more information about where to get your airbags checked or replaced.
Find us at 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124
You can reach us by phone at: 952-431-2700
There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.
That is definitely one car part you don't want to take a chance with, so Valley Auto Care recommends following these guidelines:
- Use a reputable collision repair center that employs ASE certified mechanics (we can offer recommendations at Valley Auto Care).
- Inspect the invoice to ensure that the repair shop purchased the airbag from a manufacturer, dealer, or recycler. If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer.
- You will see the SRS light (Supplemental Restraint System) when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is likely a problem with the airbag system.
For more information, contact Scott at Valley Auto Care by calling 952-431-2700.
Keys to Long Lasting Vehicle
Date: October 6, 2010 10:16 AM - Category: Maintenance
New cars cost so much these days. Add financing and insurance and, well a new vehicle may not seem so attractive. A lot of Apple Valley, Minnesota people are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.
The good news is that with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacture, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more.
There is an old saying that says, 'a stitch in time saves nine' and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service.
Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That’s why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.
The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And your oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build up of harmful oil sludge.
Don't let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors. Preventive maintenance is a great way to keep your operating costs down.
Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure.
Now this is a lot to remember. Valley Auto Care can keep on top of this stuff. We can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it.
Bottom line – take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly damage and maintain your warranty coverage. Call Valley Auto Care today for an appointment; you can reach us at 952-431-2700.
Take good care of your car, and it’ll take good care of you.
Valley Auto Care
Give us a call today at 952-431-2700.
Or stop by at 7125 151st St. West, Suite 105, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124