Safety is a big concern for motorists but few understand the role that a wheel alignment can play. Most would understand that as the final point of contact between road and car, tyres are very important. But what is just as important is how the tyres and the wheels are aligned, relative to the body of the car. Having a wheel alignment done can make all the difference to your car’s handling.
What is a wheel alignment?
A wheel alignment is an essential part of car maintenance. It is a process whereby the angles of the tyres fitted to a car are adjusted by an expert. The purpose of doing this is to make sure that the tyres’ wear is minimized and that the tyre contact the road properly.
A wheel alignment should reflect the maker’s specifications so that the wheels impact the road in correct orientation with the vehicle body. It can not be assumed that replacing a set of tyres entails an alignment, but making sure it is done properly not only increases the lifespan of the tyres considerably, but ensures the vehicle handles correctly as well.
How is a wheel alignment done?
The are two main angles which need to be adjusted, the Primary and Secondary angles, and they will need to be adjusted during the lifespan of the car.
Within Primary Angles, there are three adjustment parameters, or points of correcting the tyres’ angles, involved on each axle. These adjustments are ‘camber’, ‘caster’ and ‘toe’ – technical terms for points which will be recognised by your mechanic or wheel expert. On some cars you may not be able to adjust all three, it depends on the vehicle. It is superfluous to list all the secondary angles but it is sufficient to say that they are numerous and should only be done by an expert. If you are in doubt about who is qualified to do a wheel alignment you can always check with your state motoring organisation and see who they recommend, eg Nashville Auto Repair
The purpose of wheel alignments
The main thing to remember is that a wheel alignment is vital to ensure your car handles properly and tyre wear is minimised. You can’t simply assume that a change of tyres means the wheels will be aligned, so make sure you check. Wheels don’t stay aligned either, so have this checked when you get a service done, and ensure the continued safety of your car in all conditions.