What is wheel alignment
Tire alignment is sometimes called wheel alignment. It can help your tires perform properly and last longer. It can also improve your handling and prevent the vehicle from pulling in one direction or vibrating strangely on the road.
Wheel alignment refers to checking and adjusting the angels of each of the wheels with each other and with the car. Misalignment of your car’s wheels can reduce the life of your tire. Proper wheel alignment is the first important thing for your good handling and plays a very important role in increasing tire life.
How to check the causes of alignment problems?
The wheels may become misaligned if the vehicle is suddenly jolted, such as when going over a pit or an object in the road. Wheel and suspension assembly parts can wear and move and cause visible symptoms, indicating that it is time to realign the wheels.
A properly aligned vehicle will run better and more efficiently. If you need to make a quick turn or dodge something fast on the road, wheel alignment could be the very thing that will save your life.
If you are not an expert car driver then how can you know that your car needs to align? For this purpose, you have to knowledge about few signs which can lead you to align your car. There are various signs by which you can guess that your car needs to align:
Vibration of your car during a long drive
Long drives can take a toll on your back and make it hard to concentrate. Vibration from the car’s wheels going over the highway is a sign of a misaligned tire. This can be a leading cause of increased fuel consumption and premature wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
Your car pulls to one side
Check the alignment when driving on a straight road with light traffic: take your hands off the steering wheel and let the car guide itself on the road. If it veers or moves in a certain direction, put your fingers back on the steering wheel and gently hold the steering wheel to stay on the road.
When the vehicle starts straight again, repeat the test. If the vehicle is still turning sideways, the wheels need to be realigned. The further away from a straight line, the worse the alignment.
Uneven or rapid tire wear
If you have noticed that the tread of some tires on your vehicle is wearing out faster than others, the wheels may be misaligned.
You should measure the tread depth on both sides of each tire with a tread depth gauge for maximum accuracy. Correctly aligned wheels will all have the same tire depth across the tires.
Squealing tires of your car
As tires wear unevenly due to misalignment, they may begin to creak when the vehicle accelerates or turns. The squeal can be caused by other things, such as worn brake pads, so check your vehicle for any symptoms.
As a car owner, it is important to know how often wheel alignment needs to be done. There is usually no time limit for alignment. However, when taking the vehicle for regular maintenance, the operator will assess the wheels of your car and decide accordingly whether the wheels should be aligned or not.
How Often Should You Align Your Vehicle
Owning a car comes with many responsibilities. You need to be careful about maintaining your car regularly to get the most out of it. Failure to provide proper care could not only damage your vehicle but could also lead to accidents. Regular wheel alignment is one of the most important things to keep in mind when owning a car.
Aligning your vehicle is a key part to ensure that your tires wear evenly and last as long as possible, it is important to get your car aligned on time. Most people should get their car aligned every six months or 1,000 miles.
However, it is recommended to opt for a wheel alignment every 2 to 3 years. If you are installing new tires, you can also align the wheels during this time. Depending on the type of terrain you drive, you may even need to align your wheels several times a year. This can happen more often if you are driving over rough terrain. If your car has been mostly driven on rough roads or had an accident, now is a good time to opt for wheel alignment.
What are the benefits of Aligning your vehicle?
- Increase energy efficiency. When your car is not properly aligned, your wheels don’t work together as they should. Because of this, your vehicle’s engine has to run much longer to propel you forward, reducing your car’s fuel efficiency.
- Reduce costly car repairs. A misaligned ride leads to uneven and premature wear of auto parts. Every time you hit a hole or bump in the road, the steering and suspension systems are affected. When your tires aren’t assisting the impact in the same way, certain areas of these systems are hit harder than others, causing them to fail sooner than they should. If it completely fails, you’ll even face an expensive auto repair service.
- Experience an easier ride. When your car’s wheel alignment is off, you’ll usually notice your car moving slightly to the right or left, even though the steering wheel is pointing straight ahead. Constantly adjusting the steering to compensate for misalignment is tiring, inefficient, distracting and dangerous!
- Improve vehicle safety. Proper maintenance of your car, truck, SUV, van or hybrid vehicle helps it run better. It also saves you from unexpected problems with your car, which could get you stuck on the side of the road.
- Increase the life of your tires. Last but not least, your tires. Your tires are an expensive and important car part that wears out much faster when you don’t get the wheels aligned properly. When you line up your tires, and they work together in harmony, they’ll take you much further, and you won’t have to buy new tires sooner than necessary.
What are the Risks of Not Aligning Your Vehicle?
Proper wheel alignment is necessary for a vehicle to perform well while driving. The risk of tire damage and road accidents increases when a vehicle’s wheels are out of alignment. Regular wheel alignment inspections protect the life of a vehicle’s tires while increasing vehicle safety.
Smart drivers will adapt to signs of misalignment and take action to correct the problem immediately. By driving carefully, people are more likely to avoid crashes that cause misalignment issues, allowing them to enjoy greater safety on the road.
- Misaligning your vehicle can be extremely dangerous. If you’re not careful, you could end up crashing and injuring yourself and other people. There are a variety of different ways to align your vehicle, but we recommend using a laser alignment tool.
- Driving a vehicle with improper wheel alignment can lead to uneven tire wear. If the problem is not corrected soon enough, a vehicle’s tires can suffer premature wear, making them unsafe. Correct alignment problems immediately to avoid unnecessary tire damage.
- Misalignment can put undue stress on a vehicle’s suspension. This presents a risk of damage to the suspension components, which could lead to expensive repairs to the vehicle.
- When driving at high speeds, wheel misalignment can cause steering difficulties, increasing the risk of an accident. Misaligned tires tend to pull sideways, forcing the driver to maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel. Misalignment can negatively affect the way vehicle brakes and handles, compromising road safety. Additionally, tire drag from misaligned wheels could result in higher vehicle fuel consumption.
What are the different types of wheel alignment?
Toe- in / Toe-out adjustment
In passenger vehicles, these conditions are usually caused by worn or damaged steering components, a worn or damaged control arm bushing, or over or under adjustment of the tie rod ends. In vehicles that use a steering box instead of a steering rack, these conditions may also be caused by the above, in addition to damaged, worn, or bent traction elements and/or tread bushings worn.
These conditions are usually happened by worn, damaged or broken McPherson struts, worn, broken control arm bushings or contact with a lateral obstacle. The inward and outward tilt of the tire and wheel assembly (when viewed from the front of the vehicle) is called camber. When the top of the tire is angled inward, it is a negative chamber. Positive camber has the top of the tire angled outward. Each manufacturer must establish a specific chamber alignment for each vehicle they produce, which can be positive, negative or zero (0º). When the camber is at the correct angle, the tire and wheel will roll straight.
In general, camber plays a key role in cornering performance. If the camber is out of the manufacturer’s range, it can lead to handling issues and excessive tire wear, which can cost you money. If a vehicle has rear camber settings, the rear camber setting plays an important role in straight-line and cornering stability.
Keep in mind that although this setting is essential for good straight line tracking, it is usually not possible to adjust this angle. However, a deformation of the bodywork caused by an accident can disturb this adjustment, which can sometimes be corrected by a bodybuilder who can “restore” the chassis with computer equipment.
Adjustment of four wheel
All types of adjustments needed to ensure that all of a vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned with each other, as well as with the vehicle’s centerline, commonly referred to as the “thrust line” .
Although this type of procedure is most often performed on high-end sports cars to ensure the car’s handling is not compromised, many “regular” cars can also benefit greatly from this procedure. If the procedure is performed by a properly qualified technician, this procedure produces the best results in terms of alignment accuracy.
Pull line adjustment
The traction angle is an imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the rear axle centerline. It compares the direction of the rear axle with the centerline of the vehicle. It also confirms whether the rear axle is parallel to the front axle and whether the wheelbase on both sides of the vehicle is the same. It is one of the most important diagnostic angles during an alignment.
To measure the angle of pull on a vehicle, you need to perform a four-wheel alignment. Even if the rear axle is uneven, you must take rear axle measurements to properly align the front suspension.
A thrust condition exists when the individual back finger is not equal. A vehicle’s angle of pull can be generated by two conditions or angles. This makes it difficult for some technicians to properly diagnose the problem. First, the tow angle can be generated by the axle angle or a misaligned rear suspension mount, which can alter the top angles. Additionally, a pull angle can be generated by rear finger settings that are independent of the axle angle or the default axle angle.
Conclusion: The Importance of Properly Aligning Your Vehicle
Wheel alignment involves adjusting your vehicle’s suspension to make sure the tires are straight and in line with the rest of the car. Proper wheel alignment plays an important role in the safety and efficiency of your vehicle. Ensuring your vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned ensures that your car runs safely and efficiently while keeping you safe while driving. Misaligned wheels can cause problems while driving and can affect your vehicle in various ways. Wheel alignment influences how your car responds to steering and has a huge effect on the life of your tires.