Last updated on February 1st, 2024
To ensure vehicle balance and maximum ride comfort, car owners occasionally have to replace their strut components.
Manufacturer maintenance guide makes it simple to know when to replace your struts, but one query almost always arises: Do you require an alignment after changing shocks and struts?
Shocks and struts, a crucial part of your car’s suspension, work to control your car’s movements. When braking, accelerating, turning, or traversing rough terrain, they provide you with more control.
You’ll need to realign your wheels if you ever need to replace your struts, but there are other situations in which an alignment is equally important.
Should I get an alignment after a Strut Replacement?
It’s generally a good idea to get a wheel alignment after replacing struts, in either the front or the back of your vehicle.
This is because these suspension parts can have an impact on your wheels’ position. Poor handling, premature suspension wear, and uneven tire wear can all be caused by improper alignment.
For instance, if you change the coil springs on a strut, this will alter your vehicle’s height and camber angle.
In cases where you are reusing your old coil springs, then you might not need an alignment.
But, if you are changing the spring for one with a different coil length or simultaneously changing your tires, then a wheel alignment will be necessary.
Generally, we recommend that you perform a wheel alignment after replacing your vehicle’s struts.
However, not every strut-suspension vehicle needs an alignment after strut replacement.
For many years, Hondas had an unusual suspension style with two ball joints, a strut connected to the lower control arm by a “wishbone,” and bolts positioned high in the car body – which meant that many Honda owners didn’t have to get their car aligned after replacing a strut.
The steering axis does not pass through the strut if there are two ball joints. This design can be found on various Ford and other Asian-made vehicles. Those struts can be replaced without being aligned.
What Happens If You Align Incorrectly After Strut Change?
If you need to replace your car struts, you should know the importance of proper alignment for preserving your vehicle’s performance. But what if you do it incorrectly?
Car Handling Deteriorates
The alignment of the new strut is crucial since improper alignment can result in increased wear on other suspension components and poor vehicle handling.
Therefore, an alignment inspection should be performed before you put your automobile in motion after replacing a strut.
After you repair the strut, the automobile may feel like it is bouncing more than usual, which is another frequent problem.
Again, if this occurs, take it to a mechanic; they should be able to fix it, so it rides smoothly.
Unnecessary Movements When Braking and Steering
When you brake or turn, the car frequently pulls to one side; making it very difficult to comfortably drive your car and make sharp turns.
This typically occurs as a result of improper strut alignment during replacement.
Benefits of Alignment After Replacing Struts
Let’s take a look at how crucial alignment is after strut repair.
Proper Ride Height Is Ensured
After repairing a strut, it’s crucial to maintain good alignment because it guarantees that the car’s height stays constant. So, you won’t be having a tilting vehicle.
Optimal Ride Comfort
The purpose of a car’s suspension is to maintain wheel alignment while providing the most comfortable ride possible.
It’s crucial to align the new strut with the other suspension parts when you replace a strut.
After replacing the struts, proper alignment is essential for your safety and that of your passengers. Struts must be placed and adjusted correctly to keep your car in line.
Indications That My Car Might Need an Alignment
Diagnosing wheel alignment issues can be challenging without the right tools.
Nevertheless, there are some indications that are frequently connected to problems with wheel alignment that you may watch out for.
Be aware that an alignment can lose form over time due to driving over bumps and potholes and from hitting curbs unintentionally, so be sure to have your car serviced at least once or twice a year.
While driving, the car veers to one side
The most typical indication of a bad wheel alignment is this. It frequently results from hitting a curb or a pothole while driving.
Observe how the car drives and how the tires are wearing if you’ve done that. Always keep your tires at the proper pressure since improper or excessive tire pressure can cause wear.
Uneven Tire Wear
Uneven tire wear is a clear sign of alignment issues. One side of the wheel may degrade more quickly than the other due to poor wheel alignment.
Feel the tire surface with your hand while your car is parked to check for feather edges, which often signify an issue with the toe adjustment.
Additionally, you may purchase a tire tread gauge and quickly assess the tread depth in the inner and exterior tread sections.
Off-center steering wheel
You likely have an alignment issue if it requires extra effort to keep your car traveling straight.
Be aware that improper wheel alignment can have symptoms in common with issues with the suspension and steering systems.
Get a trained mechanic to thoroughly evaluate your car so that any similar problems may be ruled out.
The front strut assemblies are a crucial component of your steering system and a structural component of your suspension.
Hence, any replacement always warrants alignment.
Some vehicles come with coil springs, shock combinations, or entire strut assemblies. As a structural component of your suspension system, full strut assemblies must also have an alignment.
However, if you decide to replace the coil springs, you will require an alignment.
All four wheels will require alignment if all four strut assemblies are being replaced. It’s best to carry out an alignment immediately after replacement.