Proper wheel alignment is important to ensure that your vehicle is performing safely and efficiently. If your wheels become misaligned, issues can develop with your vehicle. Issues with alignment can affect your vehicle in many different ways. The most obvious one being your vehicle will pull to the left or right even if your steering wheel is straight. However, this is not the only issue that misaligned wheels will cause. As a result of the negative impact of misaligned wheels on vehicle safety and performance, there are many benefits of ensuring that your wheels are correctly aligned to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The benefits of correctly aligned wheels include:
- Improved handling- misaligned wheels can cause poor handling as the vehicle pulls to the left or right. Rectifying issues with alignment will ensure that your vehicle’s handling is as efficient as it should be.
- Reduced tyre wear- wheels that aren’t correctly aligned will cause your tyres to wear more quickly and unevenly as the tyres aren’t making contact with the road at the correct angle.
- Better fuel efficiency- tyres that are aligned to the manufacturer’s recommendations improve fuel consumption by removing additional excess rolling resistance
- Safer driving- tyres that are misaligned can cause steering problems. For this reason, wheel alignment is important for safe driving.
- Save money and environment- as correctly aligned wheels improve fuel economy, regular wheel alignment reduces the carbon emissions of your car.
- Driver comfort- regular wheel alignment will improve your driving experience as you won’t have to fight against a steering wheel that is pulling in a certain direction
Wheel alignment is quite technical and requires a high level of expertise. To help you understand exactly what your technician is referring to, we’ve provided an explanation of the common terms used and items that are covered during a wheel alignment check at Tyre Pros.
Toe is the angle of the wheels in relation to the vehicles centre line (an imaginary line straight down the centre of the vehicle, when viewed from above). Imagine the pair of wheels (front or back wheels) as a pair of feet. When you turn your toes inwards and your heals out, this is known as ‘Toe-in’. When you turn your toes out and heels in, this is called ‘Toe-out’.
- Toe-in or Positive Toe causes your tyres to wear excessively on the outside edges.
- Toe-out or Negative Toe causes your tyres to wear excessively on the inside edges.
Think of Camber as the amount of ‘tilt’ of the wheel, one way or the other. Positive Camber is when the top of the wheel leans away from the car. Negative Camber is when the wheel leans in at the top. The amount of tilt doesn’t have to be much and not always noticeable to the eye, but it is enough to cause undue tyre wear and make the car pull.
Cross camber is the difference in camber from one side to the other, if each wheel is itself correctly in tolerance, but at opposite ends of the scale, then the cross camber will be high, resulting in vehicle pull which may need attention. Cross camber is often overlooked and some manufactures now specify this value. The car will tend, as a general rule, to pull to the side with the least negative or most positive camber.
The easiest way to understand Caster is to look at a bike (viewed sideways on). If you draw a line down from the centre point on the handlebars down the forks to the ground (on a car this would be the suspension strut), this indicates the ‘pivot point’. Then draw a second line vertical through the centre of the wheel and where this touches the ground shows the ‘tyre contact point’.
The top angle that has been created is what is known as the Caster Angle. If this top angle is reduced then stability is less, therefore it is important to get the Caster set to its optimum angle for the best possible control.
Centre Line and Thrust Angle
The Centre Line is an imaginary line running down the centre of the car, from the front to the rear and equidistant from the sides. Thrust angle is the direction the rear wheels are pointing in relation to the centre line. If the thrust angle is not zero the vehicle will ‘crab’ – move sideways from the back.
Most garages will provide an alignment check however
At Tyre Pros we use the best wheel alignment equipment from Hunter to give your vehicle the most accurate wheel alignment results possible. Our Hunter Hawkeye wheel alignment equipment uses a series of lasers to measure 14 key alignment angles on your vehicle so we can quickly identify even the slightest alignment issue.
Not only do we boast the best alignment centres around, you will also receive a before and after printed report. Your print out will provide details all of your car's alignment values.
Our team is on hand to help explain any wheel alignment issues found and how these can be rectified.
Talk To The Tyre Pros
“Wheel alignment is important for both safety and comfort. If you’re unsure whether your wheels are correctly aligned, talk to the Tyre Pros.”