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?
Increased fuel economy.
Prolonged tyre life.
Braking and steering response is improved.
Straight-line 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 for….
Uneven or accelerated wear on the edges of your
tyres. Usually caused by a toe out or toe in
The 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
It your cars steering wheel is not returning to the
dead ahead position or pulls to one side.
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:
When you 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
When you 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 noticed before
When you 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
Every 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.
When you 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
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-
Excessive 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.
Hitting potholes and other obstacles, including
kerbs when parking, can cause damage to suspension
If you’ve 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 alignment.
On some 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 whatever reason.
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
Once uneven wear appears, the tyre is
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