To prevent vibration, skidding, noise, and wear, wheel alignment inspection is necessary. Learn about useful information regarding wheel alignment and how to perform an inspection.
The Importance of Wheel Alignment
If your tires are wearing unevenly, such as the inside shoulder of the tire wearing faster than the rest of the tread, your vehicle may be out of alignment. These conditions will shorten the lifespan of the tires, while adversely affecting the handling characteristics of the vehicle which can be dangerous. If you detect irregular wear, have your alignment checked immediately.
Aspects of Wheel Alignment
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Caster angle settings when compared (from the side) allow the vehicle manufacturer to balance steering effort, high-speed stability and front-end cornering effectiveness. Increasing the amount of positive caster will increase steering effort and straight line tracking as well as improving high-speed stability and cornering effectiveness, whereas decreasing positive caster results in less steering stability.
The camber prevents tire abrasion and increases steering manipulation. According to the angle at which the top or bottom portion of a tire pulls inward or outward when the car is on a flat surface, there are three types of camber: positive, negative and neutral.
With the development of suspension and auto technology, most vehicles today have negative camber. In the case of negative camber, the car tilts when cornering due to centrifugal force. The outer tires area of contact with the road surface increases, which allows for safe cornering.
The toe refers to the directional difference between the front and back of a tire formed by the upper part of an axis on a flat plane. There are two types of toe: toe-in and toe-out. Toe-in indicates the tires front part pulled inward and toe-out indicates the tires front part pulled outward. In the case of severe toe-out, abrasion occurs on the tires inner surface. In the case of severe toe-in, abrasion occurs on the tires outer surface. Both cases experience a high degree of resistance from the road surface, which results in decreased drivability and greater fuel cost. A controlled degree of toe-in increases safety in straight line driving and offsets inner abrasion that occurs due to negative camber.
When to Check Wheel Alignment
We recommend checking wheel alignment during an annual inspection or for every 20,000 km driven.
An inspection is required when,
The car has been in an accident.
After tire replacement.
When there is abnormal tread wear on the tires shoulder.
When the handling is unstable and/or wobbles.
When ride quality has become rougher or fuel economy has declined.