Why is a Wheel Alignment Necessary?

Why is a Wheel Alignment Necessary?

| By: Blair Jordan, Christian Brothers Automotive Spring

What Is A Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is what makes up the angles that keep your tires going straight down the road and wearing evenly. If your wheel alignment is not correct, that means something in your steering or suspension is loose or worn out. You may begin to notice abnormal wear on the edges of your tires or you may even notice your vehicle pulling more than it should. This usually indicates a problem with your alignment. It's imperative to get this fixed as soon as possible so tires will not be damaged. Tires are not cheap!

How Is Wheel Alignment Diagnosed?

Repairing alignment begins by diagnosing what parts are failed or just need adjustment. Your vehicle will be driven onto a lift and then a large alignment head will be fastened on to each wheel. An alignment head is just a large sensor. These sensors will send a signal to a shop computer in front of your vehicle. The technician will then be able to see the data representing the alignment angles on your vehicle and whether or not it is within specification.

If any angles are found to be out of specification, the vehicle will be visually inspected so the cause can be found. Improper alignment angles can be caused by something as simple as a loose bolt and can be tightened down for a proper repair. More serious problems could be from worn out steering and suspension parts.

The three wheel alignment angles that cause most problems are camber, caster, and toe. Here's how they work:

  • Camber- This angle represents how the top of your wheel tilts inward or outward. If it tilts inward or outward beyond specification for very long, abnormal wear will appear on one of the edges of the tire. Improper camber angles can damage a tire very quickly. If your camber angle is bad enough, it can cause the vehicle to pull as well.
  • Caster- This angle represents where the center of your wheel line points upward. An easy way to visualize this is how a front bicycle fork points up and rearward a little. This angle is responsible for keeping your vehicle heading straight down the road. An improper caster angle will not cause tire wear but will cause the vehicle to pull.
  • Toe- The toe angle is what keeps your tires close to parallel. If the tires point toward each other or away from each other too much, your toe angle is out of specification. An improper toe angle will cause tire wear very quickly.

Scheduling A Wheel Alignment

If you suspect that you have a problem with your alignment, we can get your vehicle in the shop and on the machine and properly diagnose it. At that time, if repairs are needed, we will discuss those options with you. Please contact us at Christian Brothers Automotive Spring to schedule your vehicle's alignment appointment.

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