Tires, Brakes, and Alignment—What You Need to Know

Tires, Brakes, and Alignment—What You Need to Know

When it comes to keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape, there is a lot of information out there for someone to digest if they want to know, intimately, how each system operates in their vehicles. However, for most owners, this information is excessive because they are not trying to engineer a vehicle or work on vehicles professionally. As a practical matter, you should have a general idea of factors in these systems that affect you as a car owner. Let’s consider how faults in these systems can affect the quality of your ride, below.


Tires play a critical role in your vehicle because they are the ultimate surface by which the power is transferred. Tire pressure is one of the key factors for owners to maintain. If you check your tire pressure regularly, you will have the ideal handling and comfort while driving.
People who overinflate their tires will have a vehicle that feels skittish and nervous. Under-inflated tires are at risk of blowing out and will cause the handling to feel sloppy and undefined. In either case, you will put premature wear on your tires and wind up paying a heavy price for quality replacements. The tire pressures for your vehicle are typically located on the driver’s side doorjamb.


Your brakes are the only thing holding you back from a major collision. If you don’t have crisp and responsive braking, you are putting the lives of yourself and others in danger. Brake systems can be compromised by vacuum (air suction) leaks in the engine bay. A number of vacuum hoses are connected to the engine head including a large one that reaches the vacuum brake booster. If your vehicle is running rough at idle and shaking, this may indicate that there is a vacuum leak that will have a big impact on the effectiveness of your braking. Aside from vacuum leaks, you should also have the fluid flushed every 2 years to prevent internal corrosion and mushy pedal-feel.


In order for your vehicle to handle correctly and feel comfortable at higher speeds, you need to have a perfect alignment. The alignment is the orientation of the front and rear wheels in relation to your automobile. Every angle of the wheels plays a critical role in how the tires grip the road and how it handles. If your car is pulling to one side when you let your hands off the wheel, an alignment may be required.
You will enjoy your vehicle and stay safe when you are driving if you take care to watch out for these common faults in key automotive systems.