To prevent vibration, skidding, noise, and irregular wear, wheel alignment inspection is necessary.
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. This conditions not only shorten the life of your tires but adversely affect the handling characteristics of your vehicle, which could be dangerous. If you detect irregular wear, have your alignment checked immediately.
Aspects of Wheel Alignment
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
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.