How do you know if your vehicle needs its wheels aligned? First of all, let’s talk about what a wheel alignment, commonly referred to as a front end alignment, actually is.
A wheel alignment is a mechanical adjustment made on your vehicle that adjusts the camber angle, caster angle or toe settings in order to bring the alignment of your wheels back into factory specifications.
The camber angle is the angle between the vertical axis of the wheels used for steering and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear. The caster angle or caster setting is the angular displacement from the vertical axis of the suspension of a steering wheel in a car other type vehicle, measured in the longitudinal direction. It is the angle between the pivot line (in a car an imaginary line that runs through the center of the upper ball joint to the center of the lower ball joint) and vertical.
The toe setting, also known as tracking, is the symmetric angle that each wheel makes with the longitudinal axis of the vehicle, as a function of static geometry, and kinematic and compliant effects. Negative toe, or toe out, is the front of the wheel pointing away from the centerline of the vehicle. Positive toe, or toe in, is the front of the wheel pointing towards the centerline of the vehicle.
Confused yet? Don’t be. The easiest way to find out if your vehicle needs a wheel alignment is to bring it by Postle’s Tire Barn. Our state of the art computer alignment machine takes all the guess work out of getting your vehicle’s wheel alignment back within factory specs.
Common Indications You Need A Wheel Alignment:
What are some of the indications that your vehicle might need a wheel alignment? The most common characteristics are uneven tire wear, your vehicle pulling to one side or the other, or if your vehicle drifts one way or the other. Hitting a pot-hole at a high rate of speed could cause your vehicle to become misaligned. Continually hitting curbs can also cause your alignment to need re-setting.
Generally speaking, a rough ride or a tire vibration at certain speeds will not be remedied with a wheel alignment. Rough riding vehicles usually ride that way because of irregular tire wear or tires and wheels being out of balance. A misaligned vehicle CAN cause the irregular tire wear that is causing your vehicle to ride rough, but usually getting your wheels aligned will not stop the rough ride. So what do you do?
What To Do:
The best thing to do is to bring your vehicle in to Postle’s Tire Barn. If your vehicle is riding rough, we’ll perform a vibration diagnostic test. If your vehicle is pulling one way or the other or your tires are wearing un-evenly, we’ll make recommendations on how to remedy your problem.