Your vehicle’s alignment is of utmost importance, doesn’t matter whether you drive a truck, an SUV or a car. Tire alignment has a huge impact on how your vehicle handles when you drive, the wear and tear on your tires and other systems, and how easy it is for you to relax and cruise around without a vehicle that wants to fight you.
What is an Alignment?
When it comes to vehicles, ‘alignment’ refers to the suspension and how it connects the vehicle itself to its wheels. When everything is in proper tire alignment, then the wheels on your car, SUV or truck are straight and roll properly to propel you forwards or backward.
When things are in correct alignment, then the wheels are straight, vertical and in proper contact with the road beneath them. An improper alignment puts your wheels at an angle that has a negative impact on how well your vehicle behaves and how easy it is to drive.
Major Aspects of Alignment
If you take your vehicle in for an alignment inspection, what you’re really doing is having a mechanic or service technician look at three things. Each of these is an important part of the overall alignment, so it’s important that you understand what they are.
Camber – The camber of your tires refers to how they are angled if you look at your vehicle from the front. Stand in front of your vehicle, facing toward it and look at your wheels – they should be straight up and down, vertical and perpendicular to the road. If the camber of your tires is off, then it means they are leaning either in toward your vehicle (positive camber). Either type of misalignment is problematic.
Toe – Where the camber is how your tires are leaning when viewed from the front, the ‘toe’ refers to any misalignment in your wheels when viewed from above. You can think of this like standing up and looking down at your feet and toes. When viewed from above, your tires should be straight and parallel with the centerline of your car. A misalignment here means that your tires are either angled in toward the center of your vehicle (toe-in) or out away from your vehicle (toe-out).
Caster– Finally, there is the alignment of your steering axis with respect to the centerline of your wheels. This is a bit harder to visualize and not as simple as noticing that your tires are angled in or tilted toward your car. A misalignment here means that the axle is either angled toward you while you’re driving (positive caster) or away from you (negative caster). Don’t let the names fool you; both of these have a negative effect on the handling and performance of your car.
How to Check your Tire Alignment
While you should have a professional auto mechanic check the tire alignment of your vehicle and make corrections as needed, there are a few things to watch out for that indicate if the alignment is off or not.
- Watch out for uneven wear on the tread of your tires.
- Excessive vibration in your steering wheel while driving can also indicate a problem with your alignment.
- If you notice that your car is driving straight while your steering wheel is at an angle, meaning you’re adjusting for an issue, then this could also indicate improper alignment.
For a professional inspection of your vehicle’s wheel alignment, head on over to Car Factory. Drive into our outlets in Miami or Hollywood and let our certified mechanics inspect any issue you might be facing. Call us at 786-406-6234 to book an appointment today.
Recommended Read: Why Right Now Is The Best Time To Go To CFO To Buy A Car