Wheel Alignment Basics – What to know

The Importance of Alignment

Skipping steering alignment checks could seem like a good way to save money, but the truth is that it could be very expensive in terms of stress on your steering system, and on tire wear and tear. It could also be risky.

Wheels and Stilletos

Imagine taking a long walk with uneven heels on your shoes. Then, think about your car’s alignment as a pair of pumps. Just like shoe soles, the four tires are all that touches the ground. Even a tiny difference would matter a lot.

First, you would have to walk with a limp and would have to work harder to stay balanced. When your auto is misaligned, you have to keep a closer watch on steering, even on straight roads. And handling capability suffers.

Second, don’t forget about the issues that would come in relation to walking mismatched heels over many days. Your joints and tendons might have to work unevenly to make up for the difference, and this could affect your spine. If a vehicle is not aligned correctly, some joints and mechanisms would do too much work while others aren’t used to full efficiency, and you’ll need many repairs.

You know alignment service is necessary for regular maintenance, but that’s not the only time you should have this done. Here’s what to watch for:

Noticing Whether There’s an Alignment Problem

  • Your tires are showing early wear
  • Your car pulls to one side when you drive in a straight line
  • Your vehicle vibrate at certain speeds
  • You have lost the ability to easily make tight turns
  • You have been in a wreck
  • You have seen too many pot holes
  • You have hit curbs
  • You have been late on replacing tires
  • Your treads show a cupped wear pattern

It’s also important to know what we examine during alignment services. Here is some basic information about what our equipment and our mechanic will consider.

  • Camber: This means whether your tires and wheels are vertically aligned, perpendicular to the ground. Think of it like the way your legs are angled your feet either far apart or close together.
  • Caster: This one is complicated, and it has to do with the wheels relative to the steering system, ball joints, steering knuckles and tie rod ends in between. The caster angle measures how this system, including the steering axis, is connected to the wheels, based on the position of things like tie rod ends.
  • Thrust angle: This measures the front and back axles. They should usually be parallel and aligned at a 90-degree angle from the axle’s centerline.
  • Toe: In an alignment, the toe is the inward or outward position of your tires and wheels, from above. An inward angle would be like standing pigeon-toed and an outward angle would be duck footed. Could you get around like that in heels? Probably not very well, at least.
    • Alignment needs for every make and model are different, and the dependable mechanics at Christian Brothers of Flower Mound, TX will use advanced equipment to make sure yours follows the specifications precisely. Call today.