Auto alignments and repairs as performed by a professional auto repair shop will ensure that your tires perform better and last longer. Otherwise referred to as tire alignments, these wheel alignments will also improve handling. Additionally, they keep your vehicle from vibrating strangely and/or pulling in a single direction.
About Tire Alignments
Auto alignments and repairs typically involve adjustments to the car’s suspension. This suspension refers to the system that connects your vehicle to its wheels. Although most people assume that tire alignments involve adjusting the tires and wheels, this is not the case. Instead, the automotive repair technician will alter the angles of the wheels so that they make proper contact with the road.
Knowing If You Need an Auto Alignment
There are many ways to tell if your vehicle needs an alignment. In case you notice any of the following indicators, check your car in with a licensed auto alignment and repair service technician immediately:
a) Steering wheel vibration
b) Uneven tread wear
c) When the car pulls either to the right or to the left
d) If you notice that your steering wheel is off-center while you are driving straight
Camber, Caster, and Toe
Qualified auto alignment technicians are typically concerned with 3 main things, the camber, the caster and the toe.
Camber refers to the outward or inward angle of the wheels as viewed from the front of your car. Too much outward or inward tilt indicates improper alignment. If you notice either or both of these on your car, get an auto alignment.
Your vehicle’s caster angle balances cornering, stability and steering. Caster is the angle of your car’s steering axis as viewed from the side of the vehicle. Should you notice that your steering wheel is tilted towards you or towards the front of the car, get your vehicle aligned.
Toe alignment refers to the extent to which the wheels turn outward or inward from above. Both toe-out and toe-in alignments have to be adjusted.
The Importance of Auto Alignments and Repairs
Improper tire alignment will cause your wheels to wear out prematurely and unevenly. In the same way, your tires will feather, meaning that the tread will be sharp on one side and smooth on the other.
Similarly, tires that are not properly aligned are susceptible to camber wear and toe/heel wear. In both cases, your wheels (as well as your car) will not drive optimally.