Your vehicle’s wheels alignment can increase the wear and tear on your tyres, as well as affecting the way it handles, and cause it to pull in one direction or the other. This can be avoided by simply taking your vehicle to the auto shop for wheel alignment. The process is relatively simple. All it requires is placing the vehicle on a wheel alignment rack.
The wheel alignment rack machine uses laser-guided measurements to allow the mechanic to set and adjust the components of the suspension of the suspension system back to the specifications of the factory.
Understanding your wheel alignment
It is recommended by vehicle and tyre manufacturers that you have your vehicle’s wheels alignment checked after every 10,000km or 6 months. You should also have the alignment checked and carried out if you hit a pothole or curb. This is because, your vehicle’s suspension and steering could have been damaged and the wheels thrown out of alignment as a result of such a hit.
When you visit your mechanic, he or she may conduct a front wheels or a four wheels alignment, depending on the type of your vehicle. There are three common types of alignment angles. These angles are caster, and camber.
- Caster angle
This is the angle of alignment in which the front suspension of the vehicle is positioned in reference to the vertical position. This angle is set on the front wheel’s suspensions. You cannot measure and align this angle with your plain eyes but only through the use of the correct alignment equipment. The caster angle is set in a manner that assists in the vehicles steering and stability at higher speeds. This angle also helps the wheel to go back to the center position after the steering wheel is turned. Misalignment of this angle usually does not affect tyre wear and tear.
- Camber angle
Camber is how the top of the tyre tilts in reference to how it sits on the road. This angle can be seen when looking at the wheels of some vehicles. A negative camber is when the tyre tilts inwards towards the vehicle. A positive camber is when the tyre tilts outwards from the vehicle. As a rule of thumb, most vehicles are set to slightly negative or neutral camber. These angles allow the tyre to wear evenly. Some sport car models, however, are set in a way that allows slightly more negative camber to improve the handling of the vehicle when being driven at higher speeds. Too much positive camber will wear the outside of the tyre more quickly, while too much negative camber will wear the inside of the tyre.