Misalignment can affect car handling and can potentially make the car unsafe. A pre suspension system inspection is part of the full alignment procedure, so helps to highlight any worn or damaged parts before they cause a more costly problem.
Many handling problems can be corrected by a four wheel alignment and with the geometry aligned properly to the motor manufacturer’s specifications, you can enjoy that new car feel!
By preventing premature tyre wear (and early tyre disposal), improving fuel economy and minimising carbon emissions, it not only reduces the cost of motoring, but will help the environment too!
Wheel alignment, sometimes referred to as tracking, is part of standard automobile maintenance that consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are set to the car maker’s specification. The purpose of these adjustments is to reduce tyre wear, and to ensure that vehicle travel is straight and true (without “pulling” to one side). Alignment angles can also be altered beyond the maker’s specifications to obtain a specific handling characteristic. Motorsport and off-road applications may call for angles to be adjusted well beyond “normal” for a variety of reasons.
All new vehicles leave the factory with their alignment checked and adjusted. Usually the technician paints the heads of the adjustment hardware to show it has been set, also to show if it has moved later on. It is advisable to check and if necessary adjust the alignment of the car after the first 12,000 miles. Failure to do this may result in the camber and toe specifications drifting outside the manufacturer’s limit. This may lead to vehicle pulling and excessive tyre wear.
Initially consumers may not notice these defects but after driving a few thousand miles it can cause uneven tire wear and a pull/drifting to the left or right. Tyre wear leads to frequent replacement of tyres and the increase in fuel used thus adding to running cost for the consumer. Vehicle pulling causes irritation and/or fatigue while driving the car.
Under normal driving conditions many vehicles can go 25000 miles before they need a new set of tyres. To reach that mileage wheel alignment must be checked every 12000 miles. Any severe driving incidents, or changed suspension components would also warrant a check.
The typical alignment on a standard vehicle takes about an hour under ideal circumstances. A 4×4 or performance vehicle may require additional labor. When fasteners and hardware are rusted/seized, extra time may be required and/or parts may need to be replaced. This will add to the final costs.
In the same fashion that you will wear out your shoes if you walk only on the inside or outside edge, so your tyres may become worn if not within allowed specifications. Many performance vehicles sacrifice tyre life for driving performance.
Braking distance, ride quality, and even fuel economy are all affected by the correct inflation and rotation of tyres.
If your vehicle squeals while turning corners on dry pavement, it is probably time to have your alignment checked.
Changing rims and tires will normally not affect the alignment but will affect secondary angles.
A camera unit or ’93Head ’94 is attached to a specially designed clamp which holds on to a wheel. There are two camera units in our wheel alignment system (a camera unit for each rear wheel). The camera units communicate their physical positioning with respect to other camera units and precision reflector plates to a central computer which calculates and displays the various angles.