Wheel alignment or tire alignment helps you drive your vehicle smoothly without it pulling in one direction. Properly aligned wheels enhance your driving experience and also enable the wheels to last longer. It is also one of the common problems faced by car owners. The alignment may get disturbed after a speedy run or if your vehicle bangs into something. If you have a disturbed alignment you can get a wheel alignment by a team of experts. In this article, we will explain more about wheel alignment so that you do not take it lightly.
What is Wheel Alignment?
Every vehicle has a suspension that connects it to its wheels. The process of adjusting the suspension and the wheels in such a way that the angles of the tires are in sync with the vehicle, is known as alignment. Disturbed alignment may cause your vehicle to vibrate strangely on the road or pull it in one direction. It will definitely not give a very smooth driving experience and will also put a lot of pressure on the suspension to pull the vehicle against the direction of the wheels.
How to Detect a Faulty Wheel Alignment?
There are a few ways to tell whether your car needs a tire alignment. If you find any of the below-mentioned issues, you can contact a company offering wheel alignment by licensed technicians.
- Uneven treading of the vehicle on road
- Vehicle constantly pulling to the left or right
- Steering wheel vibration
- Steering wheel feels off centre even when you are driving straight.
How do Technicians Check Wheel Alignment?
Licensed service technicians check for three main things for wheel alignment check:
An experienced technician can point out a faulty alignment just by looking at the angle of the tire from the front of the vehicle. If the tire tilts outwards or inwards, rather than straight, then it depicts a problem with the alignment. Inward tilt is known as negative camber and an outward tilt is known as a positive camber. Camber misalignment can happen due to worn out bearings, ball joints and other wheel-suspension parts.
Toe alignment needs a birds-eye-view. This can be compared to your own toe alignment when you angle your feet outward or inward toward the centre of your body while standing up. Similarly, toe alignment in cars is checking the extent to which the tires turn inward or outward in a straight steering. Faulty inward toe or outward toe alignments need adjustment.
The caster angle is the right balance of the steering axis when seen from the side of the vehicle. A positive caster depicts the steering axis tilting towards the driver, while a negative caster depicts a steering axis tilting towards the front of the vehicle. The right caster angle strikes a balance between the steering wheel, stability and cornering.
Importance of Wheel Alignment
An improper wheel alignment will cause the tires to wear out quickly and unevenly. If not checked and adjusted, an improper wheel alignment may lead to:
‘Feathered’ is when the tread is smooth on one side and sharp on the other, it is a sign of poor toe alignment.
If the inside or the outside of the tread is more worn out than the centre, then it is a sign of positive or negative camber wear.
Heel or toe wear occurs due to inflation or lack of rotation. The reason for this is when one side of the tread block wears down faster than the other side. You can easily feel this by running your hand over the tread. It will feel like sharp teeth of a saw when you look at it from the side.