Wheel alignment

Important things to know about wheel alignment
(Tracking)

Snap-on 4 Way Wheel Aligner With Prism Technology

Align_ToeinIn its most basic form, a wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is maximum tire life and a vehicle that tracks straight and true when driving along a straight and level road.

Wheel Alignment is often confused with Wheel Balancing.  The two really have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that they affect ride and handling.  If a wheel is out of balance, it will cause a vibration at highway speeds that can be felt in the steering wheel and/or the seat.  If the alignment is out, it can cause excessive tire wear and steering or tracking problems and higher fuel consumption.

Angles

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There are two types of angles that should be adjusted regularly during the life of an automobile. The first type is called the ‘primary angles’ and second type is called ‘secondary angles’

Within primary angles, there are three adjustment parameters involved on each axle in order to properly align a vehicle. These adjustments are camber, caster and toe. On some cars, there may only be the ability to adjust for one or two of the parameters.These three parameters can be further categorized into front and rear, so summarily the parameters are:

  • Front: Caster (left & right)
  • Front: Camber (left & right)
  • Front: Toe (left, right & total)
  • Rear: Camber (left & right)
  • Rear: Toe (left, right & total)
  • Rear: Thrust angle

As for the Secondary Angles, the adjustment parameters are quite numerous. They are:

  • SAI (left & right)
  • Included angle (left & right)
  • Toe out on turns (left & right)
  • Maximum Turns (left & right)
  • Toe curve change (left & right)
  • Track width difference
  • Wheel base difference
  • Front ride height (left & right)
  • Rear ride height (left & right)
  • Frame angle