Wheel Alignment, Toe, Camber, Castor
Proper wheel alignment helps you maintain control of your car.
Wheel Alignment Check
- Proper wheel alignment helps you maintain control of your car.
What is a wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment is a service in which a mechanic first checks, or measures the positioning of a vehicles wheels against the vehicle manufacture's recommended specifications, and then adjusts various suspension components as needed.
Why is wheel alignment important?
Wheel alignment is important because it effects the life of your tires and the handling of your vehicle. A vehicle that is out of alignment may rapidly wear tires unevenly and uneven tire wear is not covered by the tire manufacture’s mileage warranty. Wheel alignment may also affect the handling of your vehicle.
What cause a car to go out of alignment?
Some of the most common causes of your car going out of alignment are uneven roads or potholes, small collisions (curbs), suspension related repairs to your vehicle, and normal wear and tear.
Common symptoms of a bad alignment include…
- Tire inner or outer edge wear
- Cupping wear pattern
- Car pulling or wondering
- Steering wheel not centered
How often should I get my wheels aligned?
The general rule of thumb for scheduling a wheel alignment is every 6,000 miles. If you wait too long, your tires can start to wear unevenly. Tire alignment can be affected if the tires shift even a tenth of a degree or hundredth of an inch. As time goes on, this misalignment can cause premature and uneven wear.
How can I tell if my tires need alignment?
To the naked eye, it is nearly impossible to tell if your tires need alignment. Simply put, even a fraction of a degree can affect your tires alignment and technology is needed to diagnose your tire’s alignment situation. It’s better not to wait until your tires are prematurely worn down to get your alignment fixed, but tackle the problem early and secure a longer tire life and save yourself some money down the road.
Camber, Toe, and Caster
Wheel alignment can be simplified into three main elements: Camber, Toe, and Caster. Camber angle can be described as the angle in degrees that the tire is tilted along a vertical axis. A camber angle of zero degrees would be the wheel aligned vertically perpendicular to the surface, meaning the tire is aligned perfectly straight up and down. This is ideal for even tire wear and longer tire life.
Toe angle is the angle that the tires are pointing inward or outward when you look top-down at your vehicle. It is easy to visualize toe angle if you picture yourself walking with your toes pointing out or pointing inward (pigeon toed). Maintaining correct toe angle is important to reduce wear on tire edges, due to scrubbing against the surface of the road.
Caster is the hardest to visualize, and is the angle created by the steerings pivot point from the front to the back of the vehicle. Car racers will often adjust their caster angle to optimize performance in certain driving situations.