Driving on misaligned wheels is a safety hazard as it can cause the car to wander out of traffic lanes and cause a crash. It also contributes to increased friction between the tires and the ground, resulting in the tire treads rapidly thinning, causing poor road performance and even rapid loss of inflation pressure. There is more to proper wheel alignment than changing the angles of the car’s tires, it also relates to the modification of a car’s suspension.
What Is Wheel Alignment?
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) offer wheel alignment requirements when selling their cars. You will maximize your vehicle’s steering response and maintain its driving direction by testing your vehicle’s wheels periodically according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If they have been misaligned you can re-align the suspension as well as the wheels by correcting the wheel orientation angles, namely:
is the inward or outward angle of the tire as viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, suggests incorrect alignment and may need to be changed.
is the vertical axis of a vehicle’s steered wheels which helps balance steering and provides stability when cornering. Specifically, it’s the angle of your steering axis as viewed from the side of your car. If you have a positive caster, the steering axis will tip toward the driver. A negative caster, on the other hand, means the steering axis tilts toward the front of your engine.
Why Is It Necessary?
Poorly aligned tires wear violently, which shortens their achievable kilometers and results in flat tires, the rapid loss of inflation pressure, and nasty incidents.
As wheel misalignment symptoms typically occur progressively, you can not find the issue initially. However, by paying close attention to signs you can easily save yourself time and money and keep yourself safe behind the wheel.
Can You Do It On Your Own?
It is possible to perform a wheel alignment on your own, Hagerty reports, using some string, and, for extra support, toe-in plates. Camber can also be changed on your own, Mobil says, using an angle finder and a straight edge. Caster, however, requires modifying chassis components and is best left to skilled technicians.
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