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Vehicle Alignment: Why It’s a Serious Risk for New Cars

If you’ve purchased a car in recent years, chances are it has an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS). These systems aim to prevent injuries and death while driving through various safety technologies. For example, a vehicle with an ADAS will often have features like lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, and automatic parking. When your vehicle isn’t properly aligned, however, its ADAS can be impacted, raising your risk of an accident. 

As more and more cars rely on an ADAS to enhance vehicle safety and performance, it’s essential drivers understand how an improper vehicle alignment could put them at risk while driving.

Vehicle Alignment Explained

Otherwise called wheel or tire alignment, vehicle alignment refers to adjusting a vehicle’s suspension with alignment tools to ensure tires are angled correctly when the vehicle is on the road. If the vehicle isn’t evenly aligned, its tires won’t make contact with the road at the correct angles, and the wheels will be pointed in different directions, resulting in poor handling and excess tire wear.

By aligning the wheels of a vehicle with vehicle alignment tools, mechanics ensure the vehicle will stay straight when you’re driving, handle corners more smoothly, and keep your tires in good shape for longer. Proper alignment can also help your vehicle’s gas mileage and provide a safer driving experience. 

Why Is Proper Vehicle Alignment So Important for New Cars With an ADAS?

For older vehicles without an ADAS, improper tire alignment can cause several issues. For instance, an out-of-alignment vehicle will often pull to one side of the road instead of staying straight, leading to accidents. Improper alignment also causes tires to wear faster, which raises the risk of poor traction and tire blow-outs. 

While all these issues are serious for old and new vehicles, the increased use of ADAS in new vehicles increases the risks of improper tire alignment. When your vehicle uses an ADAS, the system relies on your vehicle’s sensors and cameras to make the proper calculations. If your alignment angles (i.e., toe, camber, and caste angles) aren’t properly aligned, these calculations can be thrown off. Without the right calculations, features associated with your ADAS won’t have the correct information to work properly.

This incorrect information can result in issues that range from the merely annoying to the very dangerous. For example, if your vehicle alignment is off and is causing your vehicle to pull to the right, its lane assist feature may start sending you alerts to stop and take a break. These alerts would be due to the ADAS thinking your constant corrections to the left are indicators you’re not driving safely.

Besides causing your ADAS to send you mistaken alerts, vehicle alignment problems could make your vehicle take a corrective maneuver when it doesn’t actually need to. For instance, your vehicle might brake or swerve unexpectedly due to ADAS sensor errors caused by an improper alignment. Of course, unexpected braking and swerving are major safety issues that lead to wrecks and serious injury. 

How to Avoid ADAS Issues From Poor Vehicle Alignment

Cars with ADAS must be properly aligned to ensure the sensors can send accurate data to the ADAS. If you notice any of the following signs of an alignment issue, you should take your car to a trained mechanic for an inspection:

  • Your steering wheel won’t stay centered
  • Your tire wear patterns are abnormal
  • Your vehicle pulls to the left or right
  • Your tires make squealing noises while driving
  • Your steering wheel feels loose

By taking your car in as soon as you notice any of the above signs, you can prevent ADAS issues from occuring. Since vehicle alignment problems can significantly reduce your safety, an alignment repair isn’t something you want to put off. 

Choose Chapel Hill Tire for Vehicle Alignment Services in the Triangle

If you need vehicle alignment services in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, or the surrounding Triangle area, turn to Chapel Hill Tire. Whether your vehicle has an ADAS or not, our mechanics have the vehicle alignment tools and training to properly align your vehicle and ensure its safety before you take it out of the shop. Since our team knows how important your ADAS is to your car’s safety and importance, we take great care to ensure our work doesn’t impact the proper functioning of your ADAS’s sensors and cameras.Learn more about our wheel alignment services today. If you’re ready to bring your vehicle into our shop, please make an appointment at one of our convenient locations in the Triangle Area. We also offer a great set of coupons you can take advantage of to keep your costs low!

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