Wheel alignment is the process of adjusting your wheels’ angles in order for the wheels to be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. Having your wheel properly aligned results in preserving and lengthening the life span of your tires.
Likewise, cars with accurately aligned wheels will drive straight when you are driving on a level and straight road.
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There are dozens of things that could have led to your blown head gasket and dozens of other problems that could have occurred. This checks your car's diagnostic report with our database of 500,000 faulty repairs and our panel of 10 ASE Certified Master Mechanics, so you know that the mechanic is fixing the right thing. (3 of 10 car repairs attempt to fix the wrong thing).
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If you drove your car after you blew out your head gasket, there's a 50/50 chance you ruined something else in your car. But would you like to know if that is really true or if it is just a greedy mechanic trying to charge extra? This checks additional repairs and suggested maintenance to find out if the repairs are necessary...or not.
Once you've received your final bill, we will negotiate with the shop on your behalf to see if they have any VIP special customer discounts. About 60% of auto shops are willing to drop the price if approached the right way. Once you know you've gotten a fair price AND THEN it gets negotiated down even further, you know that you've received the best possible price you could.
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These are the fundamental wheel angle alignment of tires relative to the body of the vehicle and to each other. These include the camber, caster, and the toe. They can be further classified into rear and front such as:
Camber is the wheel angle calculated in degrees: if the wheel’s top part is tilted in, it is a negative camber, when tilted out then it is a positive camber. When not properly adjusted, the camber is capable of causing faster tire wear on one portion of the wheel’s tread. It can likewise cause an issue on pulling to the portion with the positive camber.
Typically, a misaligned camber may be caused by a car accident which involves damage to the car’s spindle assembly, strut, or other structural damage. A maladjusted camber can also occur in the event of a sagging spring that alters the riding height, or when the ball joints and/or other parts are defective or worn out. Additionally, speed matters since aerodynamic forces can also alter riding height.
Caster is the steering pivot angle calculated in degrees and as seen from the side, it is the steering axis’ tilt. If the tire is in the front portion of the load, it is a positive caster. A positive caster 3 to 5 degrees is the normal settings range, while lower angles are employed on heavier cars for decreasing effort on steering.
When a caster is misaligned, it causes issues in straight tracking. In the event that caster is not equal on all sides, the car will likely pull to the positive caster’s side. With an equal caster that is more negative than positive, the car will wander off because steering can be lighter than usual, but won’t maintain tracking in a straight line.
On the other hand, with an equal caster that is more positive than negative, steering will be more difficult and will likely kick in the event you drive over bumps. However, caster has minimal to no effect at all on the wear and tear of tires.
The toe is the most vital setting for wheel alignment that is a big factor to the wear and tear of your tires. If the alignment setting of the toe is even 1/32 inch off, every tire on that particular axle will drag sideways almost ½ feet for each mile which leads to faster tire wear.
Much like the camber, the toe will be altered depending on the speed of the car since aerodynamic forces alters riding height. This in turn directly affects the toe and camber alignment settings because of the steering linkage geometry’s relationship with the suspension’s geometry.
The angle of the toe will identify the tires’ direction compared to the car’s centerline. Cars with rear-wheel drive push their front tires when rolling on the road, while resistance triggers drag that result in the suspension arms’ rearward movement in opposition to the bushings. In this context, cars with rear-wheel drive employ positive toe for balancing the movement of the suspension.
On the other hand, cars with front-wheel drive pull the car which results in the suspension arms’ forward movement in opposition to the bushings. In this case, these cars employ negative toe as opposed to positive toe for cars with rear-wheel drive.
Toe can likewise be employed for changing the handling traits of your car such that increased toe in decreases oversteer, improves stability when driving on higher speeds and steadies the vehicle. While increased toe out decreases understeer and frees up the vehicle.
Other wheel alignment settings considered secondary angles include SAI or steering axis inclination, included angle, maximum turns, toe out on turns, track width difference, toe curve change, wheelbase difference, rear ride height, front ride height, frame angle, and setback.
To check if your car requires wheel alignment, inspect all tires and check for uneven patterns of wear and tear. However, the main issue with this inspection method is that in the event you do see uneven patterns of wear as mentioned below, there is a higher chance that your tire will not be saved because of severe damage. This is the reason why you should regularly have you wheels checked by mechanics.
Get a coin and place it in the wheel’s tread at the outside, center and inside. In the event that you notice the tread is shallower in the center and deeper at the edges, your tire may be over-inflated. When you notice the tread is shallower at the edges than in the center, your tire may be under-inflated and when you notice the tread is shallower on one side and deeper in the other, you should consult a trained wheel alignment specialist as soon as possible.
In addition, if the tire’s tread is jagged in one direction and smooth in another direction, this constitutes a wear pattern called saw-tooth typically caused by toe in issues. In this case, having an alignment specialist check your wheels is also recommended since this can greatly contribute to faster wear and tear of your tires.
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Short answer - Yes, it really is that bad.
Sources* say that if we have 10 mechanics
That 6 of them will try to overcharge us
And the remaining 2/3rds won’t be certified
Meaning that you have an 87% chance of dealing with
an overcharging or under-qualified mechanic
Fact - Sources say that 60% of all auto repairs are overcharged.
Fact - Government records show that only 1 in 3 mechanics are actually certified.
Fact - The average repair amount that is overcharged is well over $100.
Fact - All this put together means that the average person has only a 13% chance of getting a fair price from a REAL mechanic. But that's just the average person.
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"I researched online for the price of my repair and it seemed right, but I had no idea how to check whether I really needed the extra 4 repairs he suggested or whether he was trying to fix something that wasn't broken."
When you buy, you receive your own personal phone number to your master mechanic. Call that line and tell us briefly about what is happening with your car.
We find every shop within 20 miles of you that has the 24,000mile/24 month warranty. Then you decide if you want to select one of those shops or pick your own.
Once we know what shop you're going to, we take care of the rest. You just bring in your car and the relax.
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Once we're finished, we'll give you a call or text summary of everything we uncovered, stopped, and negotiated before you pay. Then you leave happy knowing you got the right repair for the right price.
Just Answer doesn't have the ability to talk to a mechanic on the phone, or the ability to call in to an auto shop to do the hard work for you.
Just Answer just has a box where you can type your question, and a box where you get an answer.
But here is the biggest problem with Just Answer - you only one answer per purchase! And it is geared more towards Do It Yourselfers who are stuck on a repair question, not on a regular joe who needs help knowing whether he needs to take his car in at all, or needs to know if he is being lied to.
This is one of the main reasons people use TalkToMyMechanic, because the other answer websites are only for people who are trying to really fix things for themselves!
AutoMD misses the big picture entirely. They have a diagnostic tool…but think for a few moments: Do you really think it is possible to know what is wrong with your car with a 5 question quiz? Now, the tool can definitely guide you in the right direction, but there are over 10,000 parts in a car. And every mechanic we've interviewed says that it is foolish to try and figure out what is wrong with a car without first running diagnostics.
AutoMD makes money by sending YOUR customer information to high paying shops. Think about it, if AutoMD has to pick between taking care of you or the shop, who are they going to pick? The anonymous website visitor? Or the auto shops paying them thousands of dollars for customer information?
There is a 87% chance you get the wrong repair or get overcharged. And of the times you don't get overcharged, there is a 60% chance to still negotiate the price lower. So basically, 19 times out of 20, we save people hundreds of dollars.
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