Wheel Alignment

What is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment involves a mechanical adjustment of vehicle suspension to influence the direction and angle of the tyre’s contact with the road surface. The optimum alignment for each make and model of vehicle is set by the manufacturer in order to influence the performance and handling. Alignment also impacts upon safety and tyre wear hence, an important element of servicing that should be completed at regular intervals. 



Is Wheel Alignment Important? 


Wheel alignment is an extremely important part of vehicle servicing in order to influence a vehicle’s handling characteristics which can impact overall safety. Aside from the safety and handling aspect, maintaining the correct alignment can also extend the life of your tyres and reduce wear – which will ensure you get the best value for money from your tyres as well as boosting fuel consumption. Having the correct wheel alignment improves vehicle handling and steering whilst also reducing braking distances compared to misaligned vehicles.



What Are The Signs of Incorrect Wheel Alignment?

Signs that your vehicle requires a wheel alignment service are:

  • Vehicle pulls towards the left or right side
  • The steering wheel is off centre when driving straight
  • Steering wheel vibration
  • Abnormal or uneven tread wear
  • Positive toe
  • Negative toe
  • Positive camber
  • Negative camber
  • Caster



Camber:

Camber defines the inward or outward tilt angle of the tyres when looking at the car front on.  


Toe:

Toe is the alignment of the tyres in relation to being parallel to each other when viewed from directly above the vehicle. Tyres could face in (toe-in) or outwards (toe-out). 


Caster:

Caster focuses on the steering axis tilt that is visible from the side of the car. Caster influences the stability, balance of steering and cornering. 

Wheel Alignment FAQs

How Long Does Wheel Alignment Take?

Most alignment services will take around an hour, dependent on your vehicle circumstances. If there is any damage or additional wear on the suspension system or parts that require replacement the alignment could take longer.

Is Wheel Alignment the Same As Tracking?

Alignment and tracking of your wheels are the same processes. The advancement of technology over recent years has led to alignment covering all 4 wheels instead of the traditional tracking service which only covered the front two. Modern alignment technology involves the use of laser and HD imaging sensors to provide advanced precision to all aspects of alignment including camber, thrust line, toe and caster to reset to manufacturer-recommended angles. 

How Does Laser Wheel Alignment Work?

Laser wheel alignment involves the use of a precision laser system to measure if the wheels of the vehicle are set to optimum angles and settings.  

Do Front Wheel Drive Cars Need Four Wheel Alignment?

Yes. It is important that all four of the vehicle’s wheels are correctly aligned.

Can You Do A Wheel Alignment Yourself?

Whilst you can check for the signs of misalignment yourself using our guide above, it often recommended taking your car to a professional technician who has the use of the latest tools and laser alignment to be able to complete the adjustment.

What’s The Difference Between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing?

Wheel balancing is different to alignment as it focuses on ensuring the tyre, wheel rim and valve rotate on the vehicle without vibrating – whereas alignment is primarily focused on the direction of the tyres and the angle of contact on the road. 

Can Wheel Alignment Affect Steering?

Yes, if your tyres are not properly aligned steering can potentially pull to the left or right whilst driving. 

Do I Need A Wheel Alignment After Replacing Tyres?

Yes, it is highly recommended that wheel alignment is also completed as part of a wheel change/replacement service whilst at a garage to ensure your tyres are in the optimal position not only for safety and performance but to extend the life of your new tyres. 





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