If you drive a Jeep™, especially off-road, you may be wondering if it needs alignment. You may also be wondering if you can do the work yourself or if it should be done by a professional. This article will answer those questions as well as give other pertinent information to help keep your Jeep running optimally.
A proper alignment is necessary to the performance of any Jeep. When a Jeep is not properly aligned, it can:
- Have poor gas mileage
- Experience increased wear on the tires
- Ride less smoothly
Other performance issues can arise as well if a Jeep is not kept in proper alignment.
If you would like to know more about a Jeep’s alignment, continue reading for helpful tips and information that will keep your wheels spinning for many miles on any terrain.
Why Do Jeeps Need Regular Alignment?
It’s always good to have an understanding of why something needs to be done rather than simply taking someone else’s word for it. This section will explain why your Jeep needs to be aligned regularly for the optimal comfort of you and your riders and the performance of the vehicle.
Here’s a quick video on doing the alignment to show what’s involved with much more info below:
Align After Upgrades
Anytime you have new tires put on your Jeep, it is important to have them balanced and aligned to ensure they have even wear and tear.
You don’t want to spend all that money on a new set of rubbers only to replace them prematurely because they are unevenly worn.
Another time it is necessary to have your Jeep aligned is if you add a lift kit or do any work to the suspension.
Alignment Increases the Lifespan of the Tires
When a Jeep is not properly aligned, it can cause the tires to wear out unevenly. Uneven wear means you will be replacing them sooner than you would like, and that usually comes at a pretty hefty price.
Alignment Keeps Your Wheels Straight
One of the main reasons to have your Jeep aligned is to keep it driving in a straight line on the road. The logo on the steering wheel should be centered and not cock-eyed when the wheels are pointing straight.
When the wheels are straight on your Jeep, it will prevent the vehicle from pulling to one side or the other while you’re driving. You should be able to get on a straight stretch of road and drive with no hands while the Jeep remains driving in a straight line down the road.
IMPORTANT NOTE: That does not mean that we are recommending that you drive with no hands. This example is just to say that theoretically, you should be able to drive straight with no hands for a very brief time and your vehicle stay in its lane.
Collisions and Hard Jolts May Require Alignment
Minor collisions or excessively rough roads, like the Jersey turnpike, are common factors contributing to Jeeps needing to be realigned.
The jolt of a collision can cause your Jeep to become out of alignment, as well as if you are traveling on excessively rough terrain or driving through potholes.
Anytime you take a trip where the terrain has been rough and bumpy, you should have your alignment checked when you return.
Enjoy a Smoother Ride When Your Jeep’s Properly Aligned
Nothing is worse than driving or riding down the road in your Jeep and having your teeth chatter because it is not correctly aligned.
You will notice a difference when tiers are properly balanced, and everything is aligned the way it should be. It will be a smoother ride with fewer noticeable bumps to shake you up.
Regular Alignment Equals Better Gas Mileage
If you are like most other human beings, you are all about saving some dough. Keeping your Jeep in proper alignment will give you better gas mileage which means more money in your pocket at the end of the trip.
If you are unsure about whether you should do the work yourself or hire a professional mechanic, continue to the next section.
What to Do: DIY Jeep Alignment or Call a Professional?
Now that you know why it is important to keep your Jeep properly aligned, you may be wondering if you can do the work yourself or if it is best to call a professional.
It is common for Jeep drivers to perform their alignments. However, if you are not mechanically inclined or lack the necessary tools, it is best to call a pro. Professional mechanics have the tools and experience needed to safely perform an accurate alignment get you back on the road quickly.
Continue reading for the advantages and disadvantages of doing your own work and hiring a professional mechanic.
Here’s another video showing how to do an alignment that takes another approach:
At Home Mechanic Vs. Professional
This table represents the advantages and disadvantages of aligning a Jeep without the help of a trained professional.
|Gain mechanical experienceSave moneyWork on your time schedule||Have to do the work yourselfMust have necessary toolsNeed a place to work|
Some of the tools you will likely need to do a Jeep alignment at home are as follows:
- Box wrenches to match the sizes of the sockets you are using
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Pipe Wrench
- Sockets (generally 13mm and 15mm)
- Vice grips
- Wheel chocks
This list is not all-inclusive as there are different methods of aligning a Jeep at home depending upon who you ask. However, it gives you a basic idea of what you may need so you know if you will be able to do the work yourself.
Here’s a good resource for doing the alignment yourself.
The next table represents the advantages and disadvantages of hiring a professional to align your Jeep.
|Don’t have to do the work yourself||Have to spend your hard-earned money|
|Don’t have to worry about buying tools or finding a place to work||Have to wait for someone to do the work|
|Have peace of mind that the job is done correctly||You don’t have the feeling of accomplishment you get if you do your own work|
Annual Alignment Prevents Unnecessary Wear on Jeep
It is always a good idea to have your alignment checked at least once per year just to be sure everything is a-okay. Keeping a regular eye on the alignment and other regular maintenance your Jeep requires will ensure that you are not putting unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.