A Complete Guide to Wheel Alignment
Does your car pull to one side or does your steering wheel vibrate?
Are you constantly adjusting your vehicle, exerting extra steering effort or practically fighting the steering wheel so you drive straight?
Are your tyres worn out unevenly?
If these sound familiar, it might be time to get your tyres aligned.
Proper wheel alignment ensures even tread wear and a longer life span for your tyres. Read our guide to find out everything there is to know about wheel alignment.
What Is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment (also tyre alignment) is when the angle of the wheels and tyres of your vehicle is adjusted to the manufacturer's recommended position.
4 Signs It’s Time to Get Wheel Alignment Services
Get your tyres checked immediately when:
Uneven tread wear.
Your steering wheel vibrates.
Your vehicle pulls to the side.
An off-centre steering wheel during straight-line acceleration.
Wheel alignment process
Your tyre technician will check the following:
Toe alignment is a bird's eye view of how far your tyres are pointing inward or outward, similar to looking down on your toes when you turn them in or out. Since every vehicle requires a unique amount of toe-in or toe-out tolerance, your tyres will never be perfectly parallel to each other.
Wheel Camber alignment is how far your tyres lean towards or away from your vehicle when viewed from the front. If your tyre leans in too much (negative camber), the inner tread will wear out faster. If it leans out and away from the vehicle (positive camber), your tyre's outer edges will be susceptible to excessive tyre wear.
Caster alignment is the side-vehicle view of the forward and backward tire tilt of the vehicle's steering axis. Too much tilting back towards the driver (positive caster) or too forward towards the front (negative caster), results in uneven tread wear. Your tyre life span decreases and will cause instability at speeds of 60 kilometres and more, posing a serious threat to you and your passengers.
Ride height is the distance between the vehicle's body and the road and is the starting point for all alignment measurements. If you customize your vehicle (raising or lowering the chassis), get your tyres aligned afterwards. The same rule applies when you change your tyre size.
Don’t Get Confused: Wheel Alignment vs Wheel Balancing
Many assume that wheel balancing and alignment are the same things. They're not. Tire balancing ensures that weight is equally distributed around the tyre so it rotates evenly at higher speeds; while wheel alignment ensures that your tyres are correctly angled.
Is Getting A Wheel Alignment Worth It?
Yes! The benefits of regular wheel alignment car services include:
Save Petrol Costs
Misaligned tyres increase rolling resistance - or the friction between tyre and road. Your tyres need to work harder to move your car forward, consuming more petrol.
Avoids unnecessary tread wear
Misaligned tyres cause uneven wear that reduces the life of your tyre by 15%. Regular wheel alignment maintenance will save on tyre replacement costs.
Less suspension damage
Improperly aligned tyres can damage the suspension, resulting in expensive repairs. Avoid the unexpected expense of replacing shock absorbers, rack & pinions, ball joints, drive shafts and more, which can set you back well over $1000.
When should you get your tyres aligned?
We advise you to get professional wheel alignment when:
Installing New tyres
This is a convenient time to have your wheel alignment checked as it can be completed all at the same time. When you purchase tyres at Tyroola, you can get your tyre alignment services at our partner tyre fitters. Check our locations here.
Newly replaced suspension parts
Don't fork out any more cash to replace damaged suspension parts. Avoid repairs altogether by properly maintaining your tyres and get regular alignment services.
You've encountered a road hazard
Striking road hazards such as potholes, rocks, road debris and more can impair tyre alignment. Get your tyres checked immediately to determine if you need it done for your continued road safety.
Your tyre is aging
Alignment may be necessary as your tyre gets older. Aging tyres gradually deteriorate, suffer from tire wear, lose their elasticity and crack over time. This can cause misalignment which will further degrade your tyre.
Why Should You Get A Wheel Alignment?
Not only can you save money from getting a wheel alignment, but there are a range of factors to determine if your vehicle needs one. Just because your wheel fitter recommends an alignment, it does not necessarily mean that your vehicle requires one. A wheel alignment is necessary for both front and rear wheel drive vehicles.
Proper wheel alignment is one of the things every car owner needs to schedule regularly to keep their tyres safe and vehicle "healthy."
So go ahead and Google "wheel alignment near me" and bookmark it so that you can get it done easily.