4 Things You Should Know About Wheel Alignment
Tire alignment is one of the routine maintenance tasks you need to take care of as a car owner if you want to have the best possible handling.
Tire Alignments Is About Your Suspension
In the simplest terms, your tire alignment refers to how your tires are positioned on your vehicle, impacting your vehicle's suspension. When your tires are aligned, technically, nothing is done to the tires themselves. Instead, your suspension is adjusted to adjust your tires' angle and how they connect with the road.
Tire Alignment Impacts Vehicle Handling
Your tire alignment has a direct impact on your vehicle handling. With the right tire alignment, your vehicle will be easier for you to handle and steer. Proper tire alignment will also result in less wear to your tires, as well as less wear on your suspension. Proper tire alignment will help reduce wear on various components of your system.
Tire Alignment Warning Signs Are Easy to Spot
You don't need to know a lot about vehicles to know that your vehicle needs to get the tires aligned; you need to know the warning signs.
As your tire alignment impacts handling, one of the easiest ways to know your vehicle needs to go through a wheel alignment process is by paying attention to how your vehicle handles. If your car is pulling either to the left or right, or your steering wheel is always off-center when driving straight, your alignment needs to be adjusted. If you feel vibrations in your steering wheel when driving, that could be a sign your alignment is off.
Additionally, when you look at your tires, uneven tire wear is generally a sign that your alignment needs to be adjusted.
Tire Alignment Focuses on Three Areas
When you get your tires aligned, the technician will focus on adjusting the camber, toe, and caster.
The camber is the angle that your tires lean inward or outward when looking at your tires straight on. When your tires lean into your car, that is a negative camber, and when they lean away from your car, that is a positive camber. Worn-out suspension parts, such as ball joints and bearings, can impact the camber.
The toe alignment is about how your tires turn inwards and outward when looked at from above, not straight in. Toe-in is when they are angled towards the car, and toe-out is when they are angled away from the vehicle.
The caster alignment is the steering access angle when looking at your tires and wheels from the side of your vehicle. Your wheels can tilt towards the driver for a positive caster, or towards the front of your car, for a negative caster. This impacts your stability and corning abilities.
Every few years, you should get your wheel alignment checked. Or you should get it checked when you notice warning signs that the alignment is off. A proper alignment will result in a better driving experience.