Why Should You Get an Alignment After Suspension Repairs?
Suspension repairs can extend the life of your factory-installed suspension, but an alignment is essential for maximum efficiency. Whether you opt for a coil spring suspension conversion kit or head down to the local dealer to repair your suspension, it can be enjoyable to drive your Dodge Ram 1500. That is until it doesn't. A lot of people are shocked to discover their ride still feels uneven after the completion of suspension repairs.
Don't worry, it's not in your head. If your ride feels off it probably is, but not because the suspension conversion kit didn't work or because the auto mechanics made a mistake. Your ride feels off because after having any suspension work done on a Dodge Ram 1500, you need to make sure you get it aligned. In fact, if you decide to let a mechanic handle the installation or repair of your suspension conversion kit, it is best to ask them to take care of your alignment immediately afterwards. Failure to do so can actually damage your truck, and ruin those spanking new suspension repairs that you were so excited about. Here are a few reasons why.
The Parts are Not the Same
While wheel alignments will vary depending on what needs to be fixed, any suspension repair will likely involve replacing at least one if not more components. There is a possibility that the replacement pieces will not have the identical dimensions compared to the old parts. In spite of choosing OEM components, your suspension system is bound to exhibit wear and tear from time to time, which will affect the alignment. Even after serious repairs, misaligned suspension can occur. This is one reason why sometimes it is best to go all-in with a suspension conversion kit versus attempting to repair certain components of an existing suspension.
Suspension Repairs Can Cause Parts to Move Around
The very nature of suspension repairs actually means that sometimes parts can get bumped around resulting in alignment issues. The intricate suspension on the Dodge Ram 1500 makes things easy to be knocked out of alignment. For that reason, the suspension might not be as rewarding as you had hoped. The good news is that a simple alignment following these repairs may help solve the situation. Keep in mind that this is a natural part of the suspension repair process, and even the best mechanic is going to bump a few parts during repair. Something as little as tightening one nut or bolt can push other components nearby in the opposite direction. If a strut needs to be replaced, the control arm might get slightly edged to the side.
Talk to any mechanic and they can probably offer you ten more situations that can occur during a standard suspension repair. Alignment is the only way to counteract these issues and make sure things sit exactly the way they need to.
Suspension Repairs: Take Your Car for a Drive
If you need suspension repairs then there is a good chance that you haven't been experiencing a smooth ride in your Dodge Ram 1500 for a while. Depending on how far you let things go, you might not even remember what a smooth ride feels like. Learning how your suspension should feel is instrumental to identifying problems in the future. It will help you troubleshoot if your suspension starts to slip in the future and give you a head's up on when you should start thinking seriously about a suspension conversion kit.
Depending on the type of suspension repairs you have done, you may or may not have some issues to resolve following the repairs. The precision required for this type of suspension is simply so concise that something is always guaranteed to be off once it has been tampered with, while a coil conversion usually yields better results.
Either way, you can reset the suspension by getting an alignment done. At this point, your ride should feel about as good as it is going to get. The period immediately following your suspension repairs and alignment is the golden period, and should be what you judge your Dodge Ram's future performance off of.
Don't Delay, Book That Wheel Alignment Now
We know sitting in a garage for a few more hours while your tires are aligned is not high on the priorities list, but it is necessary if you want your car to handle correctly. Plus, there is a really good chance that you need it anyhow (because we know people don't really stick to alignment schedules).
If you don't do it, there is an entire list of horrible stuff waiting for you, including:
- Blowing out your tires
- Wearing out that suspension you just spent cash on repairing
- Wasting fuel
- Causing an accident
Nothing on that list sounds that great, so take this opportunity to do the right thing and just get your Dodge realigned.
When Do You Know It's Time to Consider a Suspension Conversion Kit
What if you finished your suspension repairs, had the alignment done, and you are still noticing that your Ram 1500 with air suspension seems to sit uneven? This is a sign that the repairs were not enough, and it's time to get serious about addressing suspension issues. The original Dodge Ram 1500 suspension system won't last forever, but you don't need to head down to the dealer and spend even more to fix the issue.
What you should do instead is consider purchasing a suspension conversion kit that will save you quite a bit of dough compared to dealer solutions, and have a mechanic install it. Eventually, wear and tear will catch up with your suspension system and even alignment won't give you back your perfect ride.
If you have done everything right and are still feeling issues on the road, then it's time to cut your losses and replace your air suspension with a coil spring conversion kit!