How do you know when you need a wheel alignment ?
At Leeuwin Tyres we have the right advise and industry knowledge to get your vehicle to drive in a straight line again.
Here are a few ways you can tell if your vehicle needs and alignment.
If you have noticed any of the below helpful hints then its time to visit Leeuwin tyres for an alignment.
- Steering wheel vibration, “while driving” the vibrations generally worsen as speed increases.
- Your tyre tread is wearing unevenly.
- When you are driving in a straight line your steering wheel is off centre.
- The vehicle pulls to the left or the right
Wheel alignment what is it ?
When we talk about Wheel Alignment or Tyre Alignment we are referring to the adjustment of the vehicle’s suspension system.
Most people think that we are talking about the tyres or wheels themselves and this simply isn’t the case. However balancing refers to the wheels themselves
Wheel balancing is achieved via small weights mounted on the wheel rim so that the tyre travels evenly at high speeds.
Alignment refers to adjustments of the vehicle’s suspension system, The system that connects the wheel to the vehicle, this is achieved by simple adjustments and changes to the angles that the tyre contact the road and at leeuwin tyres we have years of experience and understand the the different types of needs for each and every vehicle
When you bring your vehicle into Leeuwin Tyres our fully qualified and trained technicians check your tyre alignment and are looking for these 3 main things.
Camber, Toe and Caster
This is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, respectively, indicates improper alignment and will need to be adjusted. Worn bearings, ball joints, and other wheel-suspension parts may contribute to camber misalignment.
Camber is the measurement of tire lean in degrees. If the top of the tire tilts inward, the vehicle has negative camber; outward lean is positive camber. Most newer vehicles have slightly negative camber to improve stability and handling.Two indicators of camber problems are the vehicle pulling to one side (the one with more positive camber or possibly less air in the tire) and uneven tire wear across the tread. Camber is easy to check with an angle finder and a straight edge, ideally one that’s the same length as the wheel diameter so that tire sidewall bulge doesn’t interfere with the straight edge.Many front-wheel-drive cars don’t have camber adjustments, and out-of-spec camber here often indicates bent or worn parts. On vehicles that have adjustable camber, the job can involve adding shims between the control arms and frame and turning cam bolts. Many people prefer to let an alignment shop make these adjustments, particularly if their car has independent rear suspension.
Car front tires are slightly pigeon-toed to intentionally place a very slight load on the wheel bearings. Typical toe-in specs vary from one-thirty-second to one-eighth-inch, depending on the vehicle. Check a service manual for your car’s acceptable range.
The best tip-off to a toe problem is a saw-tooth wear pattern that’s equal on both front tires. If the tread blocks point toward the frame, then toe-in is excessive; pointing outward indicates too much toe-out.
Toe-in spec-check and adjustment are shown in the accompanying photos. Although no specialized tools are necessary to check toe, companies such as Eastwood, JC Whitney and Harbor Freight sell tools specifically for this purpose.
Two things to remember when measuring and adjusting toe: First, true spec is measured midway up the tires. If the car’s body makes this impractical, take the front and rear measurements one-quarter of the way up the tires, then double that to get the true toe as it would be in the center of the tires. Also, an off-center steering wheel can sometimes be corrected by adjusting one tie-rod more than the other. (Steering wheel position has no effect on your final alignment.)
Caster is the angle of steering pivot in degrees. Just as water-skiers lean backward for stability, most vehicles are designed with slight negative caster – the upper ball joint is to the rear of the lower ball joint (similar to the front wheels on a shopping cart).
A clue to caster problems is the vehicle pulling to one side (the one with less positive caster). Heavy steering and wheel hopping over bumps are signs of too much positive caster, and light steering but excessive wander are clues of too much negative caster. Aligning to spec usually involves repairing or replacing chassis parts, so the average motorist is probably better off leaving caster corrections to the pros.
Taking a few minutes to check your alignment will make your tires last longer and your vehicle handle better. Even if you choose to have a shop align the vehicle, you’ll have a better idea of the problem – and knowledge normally equals power.
..Feel free to come in for a chat or to see what we can do for you and your next adventure on or off road.
At Leeuwin Tyres we pride ourselves on a great service at the right price, on time every time