I've seen alignment services that range from $50 to over $150. So what's the difference for some shops to command such a big price difference? There are two types of alignments: 2-wheel and 4-wheel. Often shops don't specify what type of alignment they're quoting, so make sure you ask if you're trying to compare quotes.
Two-wheel alignments only consider the angles on the front wheel of the vehicle, and makes the assumption that the rear wheels are within specifications. The cost is cheaper, but as you've probably already guessed, it's not as accurate, because it's neglecting the measurements at the back of the car. Two-wheel alignments are usually only done under very specific circumstances.
Four-wheel alignments take into account the angles of the rear wheels. The front wheel adjustments should always be dependent on the rear wheel angles, even if there are no adjustments available for the rear wheels. Four-wheel alignments require more time for the technician, but usually only costs slightly more.
What does this all mean? Adjustments for your front wheels are dependent on your rear wheel angles, so for a complete and accurate wheel alignment, four-wheel is always the better option.
Also note: many shops offer an alignment printout after the service, whether it's a 2-wheel or 4-wheel alignment.
For more car tips from Emily, click here.
Did you know that an alignment is recommended every year for general maintenance? There are some repairs that require alignments, such as tie rod or strut/shock replacement, and it’s also done when a car has hit a curb or been in a collision. Most often, alignments are performed when a new set of tires is put on.
While it’s intuitive to have an alignment done at these times, we forget that normal wear and tear of components, as well as every day driving, will cause our car to be out of alignment. Your car handles a lot of stress while on the road—think of the different types of driving conditions that we put them through. Poor alignment affects braking, cornering, handling, and tires (to name a few). It’ll also increase your fuel consumption.
During alignments, the angles that we adjust are usually out within a fraction of few degrees. Dust off your old high school protractor—you can see that one or two degrees is not a big difference from zero. It’s also very difficult to visually see those few degrees of variation on our car. I certainly can’t visually tell if a tire is skewed by one degree. The only way to know for certain is to use the alignment machine, which can detect even the slightest discrepancy. By the way, one degree is a lot of variation for a car.
So, what’s the big deal? It’s only a few degrees, right? As my lead tech would explain, imagine trying to go down a ski hill straight, with your skiis pointed outwards or inwards, even just a bit. How much strain would be put on your ankles, knees, etc? In terms of your car, you may not feel anything different, but components will wear prematurely, because the car is out of alignment.
A yearly alignment isn’t a hard and fast rule, but is recommended as part of your car’s optimal preventative maintenance service. There’s still more to cover—next post is about the different types of alignments offered, and their cost.
Image via Hunter Engineering Company.
Earlier this month, various media outlets reported on a survey done through IllicitEncounters.com, a British dating website for married people (yah...that's a whole other post right there) where they surveyed their members and asked what kind of car they drove.
The survey reports that of the 640,000+ members polled, 19.21% drove BMW with Audi drivers coming in second at 8.79%. Car Advice also reported that the survey indicated 11.16% of cheating wives own BMWs, which also makes BMW the preferred car in that category.
Rounding out the top 5 are Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Land Rover.
Ok so the survey doesn't mean that 20% of all BMW drivers will cheat, seeing as IllicitEncounters.com specifically encourages extra-marital affairs. All this to say that IllicitEncounters.com's membership pool, all of whom are interested in extra-marital affairs, are more likely to drive BMWs. And remember, the website is dedicated to the British population.
According to Illicit Encounters spokeswoman Rosie Freeman-Jones, “there's an intrinsic link between success and cheating. Successful people are often risk-takers and have got to where they are by setting their standards high. However, these people are also less likely to settle for unsatisfying relationships or monotony.”
Interesting... I wonder how scientific her study was on the intrinsic link between success and cheating. Success and lack of contentment, maybe. But cheating specifically?
So who's on other end? IllicitEncounters.com reports Renault drivers make up 0.28% of their membership, while Fiat and Chrysler owners are tied for 0.55% of their membership.
In contrast, AshleyMadison.com (a leading website competitor also promoting extra-marital affairs) released a recent survey of their membership and found that the most popular car driven was Toyota, followed by Ford, Chevrolet, Honda and then BMW.
Image via freedigitalphotos