Do You Know What a Wheel Alignment Is?

How To tell if Your Vehicle Needs An Alignment

The mechanics at Harlan Automotive in Murray, Kentucky, get asked a lot of questions, but one of the most discussed is about the significance of wheel alignment. See, many people believe that realignment is just about protecting the treads of the tire and reducing wear. While that is partially true, an alignment is more about suspension and performance.

Understanding the Alignment Process

Wheel alignment refers to the adjustment of the suspension body, which in turn shifts the angles at which the wheels contact the road. Ultimately, these adjustments prolong tire efficiency.

Measurements of Alignment

Alignment, as with most mechanical work, is about precision. Therefore, to ensure alignment, your vehicle’s mechanic is likely most concerned with three angles or measurements in particular.

Toe

While camber refers to the tilt, toe refers to the turning outward or inward of a tire. If too much angling occurs in either direction, it can create problems.

Caster

As alignment measurements go, the caster angle is of the utmost importance. This measurement directly affects the steering axis, and as such, the handling and stability of your vehicle.

Camber

In reference to tilt, the camber can be either negative or positive. When bearings, ball joints, or other parts wear down, tire angles can become too great requiring correction.

Alignments are Necessary

While it may be challenging to notice when you need an alignment, they are necessary. Tire alignments ensure effective maneuverability of your car and also help to protect the life of your tires while improving or maintaining fuel efficiency. Therefore, keep an eye on tread wear and have inspections frequently.

Signs of Misalignment Wear

If you are observant, then your tire treads can signal when a realignment may be necessary. For example, you may notice the inside or outside of the tire is more worn, or that one edge of the tread is smooth and the other sharp. These visual clues typically indicate poor wheel alignment.

How long has it been since your last wheel alignment? Have you taken the time to inspect your tires? If not, and it has been a while, then contact Harlan Automotive and schedule an alignment.

Written by Harlan Automotive

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