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Wheel Alignment – Maximise your vehicle’s handling and tyre life

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 12:45:28 PM Australia/Sydney

Wheel Alignment – Maximise your vehicle’s handling and tyre life

 

Safety on roads is the prime concern of vehicle manufacturers. With the advancements and competition in the tyre industry, every leading tyre manufacturer is offering its best tyres which are measured on parameters like durability, tread pattern, large shoulder blocks and in house technologies for effective traction and handling.

 

Suspension Systems connect the wheel to the chassis of the vehicle, help in extending tyre life and is responsible for the vehicle’s handling characteristics. The process of aligning the wheel with the suspension to a point in line with the direction of rotation is referred to as Wheel Alignment.

 

When the car is out of alignment, it causes faster tyre wear, feathered tyre wear, handling and steering problems, increased fuel cost and additional tyre replacement cost. Needless to say, these issues are sufficient to affect ride quality and safety on roads. Therefore, it is necessary to check your alignment regularly.

 

There are three angles through which are commonly checked during wheel alignment:

 

Camber angle - When seen from the front of the vehicle, the inward and outward angle of the tyre is the camber. If the top of the tyre is pointing towards the centre of the vehicle, this is known as negative camber. Conversely, if the top of the tyre is pointing away from the centre of the vehicle, this is known as positive camber. This makes the inside or outside edge of the tyre to wear faster than usual. In case of extreme difference in the camber angle, vehicle gets pulled in one direction while driving.

Toe angle - This is the inward and outward angle of the tyre from the centre of the car when viewed from above. Correct toe alignment helps the vehicle drive straight and helps the stability of the vehicle.

Caster angle - When viewed from the side of the vehicle, if the steering axis tilts towards the driver, it is a positive caster and when the axis is away from the driver, it is the negative caster. Caster angle helps in handling and steering of the vehicle.

 

Effects of Improper Alignment

 

Improper wheel alignment affects the tyres in various ways. It impacts the running costs of the vehicle as well as its safety. The following points will help your understanding of the importance of correct Wheel Alignment.

 

Safety Concern: Improper alignment jeopardises the safety of road users. Tyres are one of the most important components of a car and the system which they are attached to should be properly aligned to maximise a vehicle’s handling characteristics.

Increase Tread Wear: Often tyres that are poorly aligned wear faster than properly aligned ones. Improper alignment usually causes tyres to have excessive edge wear, which impacts vehicle traction and braking distance.

Poor Handling: When the wheel alignment is not correct, vehicles tends to lose their traction on roads. Driving is more difficult with any alignment issue as vehicle tends to pull in one direction while moving. It also increases the risk of accidents on roads especially during wet weather as wet roads make vehicles less stable.

Increase Tyre Replacement Cost: The need to replace tyres more often increases with improper wheel alignment as it causes excessive tyre wear. The tread material also gets damaged in the process of driving on tyres which are aligned incorrectly.

Increase Fuel Consumption: When there is a continuous drag on the uneven tyre because of improper wheel alignment, the vehicle inputs in terms of steering, handling and braking are affected which increases the fuel cost.

 

How often should I get my Wheel Alignment checked?

 

Wheel alignment should be checked annually, however, it also depends on the number of miles the vehicle has been driven. There are other warning signs which could help in deciding when is the right time to visit your local suspension, tyre and alignment specialist:

 

1. When the vehicle has bumped into something and after any accident.

2. When the tyre replacement is too often because they wear very fast.

3. Encountering handling problems while driving the vehicle, like vehicle getting pulled to one direction or steering is difficult while making a turn.

4. After repairing or replacement of suspension and steering parts.

5. Before any long road trip.

 

At Car Tyres and You, we only use equipment that has the latest technology and is calibrated and updated regularly so you can rest assured that your alignment will be done correctly.

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Car Tyres & You

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