There are two main telltale signs that your vehicle's wheels are out of whack (misaligned or maladjusted). First, the steering wheel will naturally pull the automobile in a direction other than straight. When you measure this, make sure the vehicle is traveling on an even, concrete surface and that the vehicle is traveling at a constant speed. In other words, there are no other forces manipulating the vehicle.
The second symptom will be physically apparent in your front tires. If there is wear across the width of the tire in the form of a thin tread on the inside and outside of the tire, you should have a mechanic evaluate your tires. There are other possibilities, of course, but these two are the most common indications of a set of tires that need realignment.
There are many reasons to address this. The primary concern is safety, but poor alignment can contribute to lower fuel mileage. Regardless of whether you operate a commercial vehicle, or are concerned about a family car, you should add tire maintenance into your queue of routine maintenance.
Determining tire balance is a little more technically difficult. If tires become very unbalanced, the wheel and tire may bounce up and down at certain driving speeds leading to increased tire wear and reduced shock absorption, traction, and control. You should check and rotate tires on recommended intervals based upon the type of automobile you drive.
How Do Mechanics Perform Tire Maintenance Work?
Automotive lifts are used to perform maintenance work on the underbelly of automobiles for extended periods of time. Because automotive lifting machines are lifting cars and trucks, proper safety precautions must be taken to ensure workers' safety.
Historically the most widely used automobile lifts were in-ground lifts, which are lifts literally built into the ground, and that use pistons to lift the vehicle. When these in-ground lifts aren't being used they remain at ground level so the space can be utilized.
Another type of automobile lift is the parallelogram or scissors vehicle lift. This type is used with longer or unconventionally shaped vehicles such as transit buses. They lift the vehicle with synchronized mobile columns, often as many as six or more.
Another lift is a surface mount lift, which uses two or four separate posts that have drive-on features making them common in muffler and oil change shops. In these maintenance shops they need lifts that can lift several different types of cars in a short period of time. These shops can also store the vehicles on the lift.
It is imperative to choose a lift that is appropriate for your application to ensure the safety of its operators. It is also important to keep the lifts properly maintained. There are companies that provide auto lift products and services.