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Why get your car’s alignment checked?

Your car’s wheel alignment is a vital part of your car’s proper driving safety. Improperly aligned wheels can cause premature tire wear. With the current cost of tires and the fact that most tires are made to last approximately 5 years you could see worn out tires in as little as 6 months to one year if not aligned properly. An alignment usually costs less than 10% of the tire investment so it makes sense to have your car’s wheel alignment checked or aligned at each tire replacement.

What we do at Drake Auto Sterling, VA

At Drake Auto we will check your cars wheel alignment for free. Our machine has a quick check mode and it only takes a few minutes to see what is out of alignment before paying for a full 4 wheel alignment. I often get asked can I just align the front wheels. The answer is no. Modern cars must be four wheel aligned because the front measurements are factored in with the rear to create what we call thrust angle. Most cars alignments are adjustable from the factory. In some cases the car manufacturer may decide to use fixed bolts instead of cam style bolts making some alignment angles not factory adjustable. In this case we stock aftermarket cam bolts that can be installed so the angles can be adjusted. This is good because if you go to the dealer they will usually tell you that you need to spend over 1k dollars to replace suspension parts when all you really need is $150 worth of cam bolts.

Can my car’s alignment affect gas mileage?

Yes it can. An improperly aligned car can cost you money at the gas pump as well. Improper wheel alignment can cost over 1 mph on average. When you put that together with the cost of replacing tires more often an alignment is still a great investment.

How do I feel about lifetime wheel alignments?

I feel it is not worth the cost. We do not offer an inflated price to do a re alignment for a predetermined amount of time and here is why. The car is aligned with bolts and nuts and held up with springs. Once I do your car’s alignment it is fixed in place. If the alignment is off in the future it is because something is bent or needs to be replaced. I think the philosophy on lifetime alignment is you pay more up front then the shop can be sure you are going to come back to them when your alignment is out so they can charge you more to replace the parts that are bad to make up for doing your second alignment for free. Here at Drake Auto in Sterling, Va we have a state of the art Hunter laser 4 wheel alignment system that can accurately diagnose and align your car, suv or light truck.