Rear View – A Carcility blog

Wheel Alignment – The Ultimate Guide

Wheel alignment
Car repair

You must be probably wondering that since your car was perfectly fine at the time of purchase, then what would be the need for its wheel alignment a few months later? Well, the answer to this is varied, based on the several factors that cause the tires to wear out and their misalignment. The entire system where all the car body’s components are connected with the wheel can be disjointed as a result of careless driving habits. Wheel alignment is a part of the vehicle’s suspension adjustment.

What Is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is the process of getting your tires aligned, i.e. making sure that the tire angles are optimized with each other and to the surface of the road. Our driving styles, bumpy roads, missing the humps or ‘slow down’ signs and other such practices eventually cause the wheel’s misalignment. And it is of utmost importance not only for your vehicle but also for your safety that you have the entire ecosystem properly functioning.

Role of Wheel Alignment

Have you ever felt something wrong with how you could balance the drive on the road? Wheel alignment is an important service requirement for the car’s balancing and your car safety on the road.

A halt would be stretching longer, or a turn towards the left might actually be tilting to the right. These are examples of issues with car alignment.

The following points might help you understand the role of wheel alignment and why it is a crucial requirement:

  • Misaligned tires are a threat to the safety of the person handling the car. These are a result of uneven or too much wear of the tires. The badly worn tires lose their grip on the road, have significantly less friction on the surface and as a result will tend to slip and skid on normal roads as well, in turn impending risk to safety.
  • The worn-out tires will even cause the driver to lose their grip and handle on the road. While travelling on rough roads should never be done with a poorly aligned vehicle, a ride down the normal ones also becomes a nightmare because of the losing balance, shaking and bouncing suspension of the car.
  • A misaligned car left unattended might have a greater harm in the future – not only on the financial front but on the safety front as well. A timely car alignment will not only help in keeping the gas mileage in check, prevent extra oil consumption but also prevent the additional cost that might come with damaged parts or mishaps resulting from driving a misaligned vehicle.

Signs That You Need to Get Your Wheels Aligned

If you notice any of the following signs, it could be an indication that you need to get your wheels checked and the vehicle suspension stabilised:

  • The steering wheel is tilted to either of the sides even when the front wheels are aligned perpendicularly on the road.
  • While driving straight on the road, your vehicle automatically pulls to either the ‘left’ or ‘right’ side.
  • The uneven tread of tires and their faster wearing.
  • The steering wheel keeps vibrating.
  • The grip on the steering wheel is either too tight or too loose.

What Are the Types of Wheel Alignment?

There are three basic types of wheel alignment:

  1. Two-Wheel Alignment

  2. One of the most basic types, this is also known as ‘front-end alignment’. In this type, as the name suggests, only the front wheels are aligned and not the rear ones.

  3. Four-Wheel Alignment

  4. Usually done on four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles, in this type, all the four wheels are aligned by positioning the rear axle-angles.

  5. Thrust Alignment Alignment

  6. Usually recommended for vehicles with a solid rear axle, this type of alignment aims to ensure all four wheels are squared to one another by combining the thrust alignment with the front-end type.

    How Is Car Alignment Done?

    This is the step where your mechanic will take you car for a test ride, get all the problem areas figured out and then start the servicing by hoisting the car and examine the suspension, tire pressures and other component’s functioning status.

The car servicing is done as per the vehicles make and model and following the manufacturer specifications. Following are the main areas that will be attended to by the professional in charge of your car service:

Toe

The toe is the inward and outward angles of the turning tires when viewed from above. Toe-in suggests the wheels turning inwards, and toe-out suggests their turning outwards.

Camber

The camber is the vertical angle of the tires when viewed from the front. A negative camber suggests too much inward tilt and a positive camber suggests outward tilt.

Caster

The caster is the forward or backward angle of the wheels when viewed from the side of the car. A positive caster indicates a tilt towards the driver and a negative caster indicates a tilt away from the driver, towards the front portion of the car.

Finally, the mechanic ensures the central alignment of the steering wheel and a final check on the suspension and overall car alignment.

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