Saabs are known for being unique, durable vehicles that are capable of standing up to even the harshest of road conditions. One aspect of your Saab that plays an especially important role in its durability and smooth handling is its wheel alignment. Not only does your Saab’s wheel alignment improve tire performance, but it also prevents your vehicle from traveling off-center or vibrating while on rough roads. It is vital that Saab owners take good care of their vehicle’s wheel alignment systems.
How the Wheel Alignment System Works
Contrary to what some might believe, the wheel alignment system isn’t part of the wheels or tires. Instead, it’s a component of the suspension system that connects the wheels to the vehicle.
As the name suggests, the purpose of the wheel alignment system is to align your Saab’s tires in a way that allows them to make the optimal amount of contact with the road. In order to do this, the system manipulates three aspects of the positioning of the wheels: camber, toe, and caster. Camber is the direction in which the wheels tilt when viewed from the front, whereas toe is the direction in which the wheels tilt when viewed from above. Last, caster is the angle at which the steering axis tilts when viewed from the side.
Problems Caused by Faulty Wheel Alignment
Depending on the degree to which a vehicle’s camber, toe, and caster are shifted, wheel alignment issues can cause a wide variety of problems. First of all, issues with the wheel alignment system often lead to uneven tire wear. For example, toe misalignment can cause feathering, where the tire’s treads are worn down on one side but not the other.
Camber misalignment can cause more wear on the inside and outside of the tread than the center. Uneven tire wear isn’t necessarily a serious problem on its own, but it can cause the tire to leak or burst, which can have dangerous consequences for a moving vehicle.
In addition to uneven tire wear, wheel alignment problems can also cause the vehicle to pull to the left or right when attempting to drive straight. For relatively obvious reasons, this can be quite dangerous. Alternatively, wheel alignment problems might also make the steering wheel tilt even when the vehicle is travelling in a straight line. This is slightly less dangerous than the previous scenario, but can still be rather confusing and annoying.
The above scenarios are the most obvious issues that can result from wheel alignment problems; less obvious issues can include suspension difficulties, increased wear and tear on the brakes, and decreased driving stability. Therefore, you should take all necessary precautions to prevent wheel misalignment, and should solve the problem as soon as possible if/when it arises.
Preventing and Solving the Issue
The easiest way to prevent wheel alignment problems is by preventing them in the first place. The most common cause of wheel misalignment is driving over potholes and bumps in the road. So, you should avoid driving over rough roads as much as you can.
Additionally, regardless of where you drive your Saab, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations of having the wheel alignment checked by a mechanic every 6,000–10,000 miles. Doing so will help you catch any wheel misalignments before they cause serious problems.
Of course, accidents happen, and chances are that regular wear and tear may someday cause your Saab’s wheels to fall out of alignment. If this happens, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible, as the wheel alignment system is far too finicky to be properly fixed at home.
Let Us Prove Why We’re the Best
Fortunately, our expert technicians here at Master Mechanics Auto Repair have the equipment and know-how to get you and your Saab back on the road as efficiently as possible. We are the best service shop in the area for European vehicles, and we have provided premier auto repairs and maintenance to customers in Battle Creek, Portage, and Kalamazoo, MI for the past 30 years. We would love to make you our next satisfied customer, so give us a call today or stop by the shop to find out what we can do for you!