Put simply, the term “wheel alignment” refers to how well
(or otherwise) the wheels on your vehicle are aligned relative to each other,
as well as to the centre line of the vehicle. While alignment settings differ
between manufacturers and models. All vehicles are designed to deliver precise
steering and braking responses - but only if the wheel alignment angles are
correct for that vehicle.
What are the Benefits of Wheel Alignment?
and steering response is improved.
tracking is improved, and driver fatigue is reduced, since the overall driving
experience is improved.
Signs You Need A Wheel Alignment?
Maintaining the wheel alignment on your car is an integral
aspect of its overall maintenance and upkeep. However, this very important step
is often ignored or skipped until the first symptoms of poor wheel alignment
show up, in the form of ruined tyres. Here are some common signs to look out
accelerated wear on the edges of your tyres. Usually caused by a toe out or toe
steering has a "mushy" feel or has become less responsive. While poor steering
can be caused by wheel alignment it may be linked to a more serious problem
behind the wheel that needs professional diagnosis.
cars steering wheel is not returning to the dead ahead position or pulls to
When Should You Get a Wheel Alignment?
Obviously, the best time to get a wheel alignment is when
noticeable symptoms of poor alignment are present, but there also other
“best” times, such as:
rotate the tyres, since it allows you to properly inspect the tyres for signs
of uneven or accelerated wear patterns that may have gone unnoticed while the
wheels were on the car
replace one or more tyres to ensure that the new tyres are not damaged by the
effects of marginally out-of-spec alignment settings that you may not have
replace standard, steel rims with lightweight alloy rims, even if the alloy
rims have the same width and offset than the original wheels, since the weight
of the wheels is a critical factor when alignment angles are determined during
the design phase of all cars
time you have maintenance or repair work done on the steering or suspension
systems both front and rear, since many of these procedures require at least
some disassembly of the suspension system, which in turn can upset or disturb alignment settings during reassembly.
perform any modification to the vehicle that alters its ride height or weight
distribution, since these factors are critical to maintain proper (and correct)
wheel alignment settings
What Causes Wheel Alignment to “Go Bad”?
There are many possible reasons why the wheel alignment on
any vehicle can “go bad” and while most of them are the inevitable result of
wear and tear on suspension and steering components, other causes are sometimes
preventable with regular maintenance. here are some of the common causes of
poor wheel alignment-
free play in components such as tie rod ends, ball joints, control arm
bushings, steering racks, wheel bearings, and strut mountings, all of which can
cause the wheels to deviate from prescribed alignment settings.
potholes and other obstacles, including kerbs when parking, can cause damage to
been in an accident, even a small one, there could be damage to the body of
your car that is not visible to the naked eye which could result in poor wheel
vehicles, excessively wide tyres on rims that widen the track width sometimes
causes a toe-out condition due to the high rolling resistance of the tyres.
Importance of Wheel Alignment on New Tyres
You are no doubt aware of just how expensive it has become
to replace a set of four tyres these days. That's why it makes good sense to
have a comprehensive wheel alignment procedure carried out when you replace all
your tyres - to prolong the life of those expensive new tyres for as long as
you can, but there are other, equally compelling reasons as well, such as:
Tyre warranty requirements/conditions
All major manufacturers/suppliers of tyres offer some kind
of warranty, which could a include mileage warranty. However, these warranties
typically require that you, the consumer, must be able to prove that you had
properly cared for the new tyres when you want to collect on the warranty for
Thus, if you cannot prove that you had the wheel alignment
checked at the time that you purchased the tyres, you will almost certainly not
be able to claim on the warranty if your new tyres wear out prematurely.
Once uneven wear appears, the tyre is ruined
Even if you don’t care about the tyre warranty, you should
know if your new tyres start to wear unevenly within the first few thousand
kilometres because you skipped wheel alignment, it is too late to save the new
but now damaged, tyres.
The fact is that once a new tyre starts to show uneven wear,
no amount of fiddling with alignment settings will save that tyre. Fixing the
wheel alignment at this late stage might slow the progression of the damage
somewhat, the uneven wear will continue unabated until the tyre is completely
ruined long before its due time.
Modern vehicle suspension systems have reached a high level of sophistication, and while tyre establishments can perform satisfactory wheel alignment procedures, it is important to have a qualified technician who understands the technology behind the wheels that could be the root cause of poor wheel alignment.