What is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel Alignment is a service that adjusts the angle of the wheels so your car drives straight without pulling to one side or another.
How do your wheels get misaligned?
Hitting the curb when parking or bouncing in and out of potholes ruins the alignment of your car. Also, over time, as steering or suspension parts wear and tear, alignment changes. When fitting new steering or suspension parts, alignment will also change.
Why is wheel alignment so important?
You will be surprised to know that the portion of tread on your car tyres that touches the road at any one point is only about the size of your hand. Misalignment causes uneven tread wear on your tyres and reduces this already small contact area further thereby reducing the grip of the tyre on the road and causing loss of control of your vehicle.
When a car’s alignment is out, while the tyres are worn out prematurely, so are other parts of the vehicle. Take the human body, for example. When you’re not mindful of your posture during the day, it affects the rest of your body. In the same way, if a vehicle’s wheels are out of alignment, other parts of the car like the suspension system and braking system will also wear out prematurely.
When your wheels are misaligned, the tyres will drag slightly, increasing the rolling resistance and causing a loss in fuel efficiency.
How often should you get your wheels aligned?
We recommend that wheels are aligned once a year or every 10,000kms, whichever comes first. However, if you regularly drive on rough roads, you may need to get your wheels aligned sooner if your alignment is off.
How would you know if your car’s wheel alignment is off?
- Drifting or pulling when you’re travelling down a straight, level road, and you can feel your vehicle veering in one direction. If you have to keep slight pressure on the steering wheel to keep it going straight, then you know you have an alignment problem.
- Vibrating Steering Wheel – the chances are that this is due to an improper alignment
- The steering wheel doesn’t centralise after you complete a turn. The steering wheel should naturally start to return to the straight position on its own.
- Your tyres are squealing when taking corners. When a wheel strays out of the normal position, it causes adverse friction, leading to all kinds of strange noises.
Two types of wheel alignment services can be carried out at the garage, namely camber adjustment or toe adjustment.
- Camber Alignment
This is the inward or outward angle of the tyre when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, indicates improper alignment and needs to be adjusted. In addition, worn bearings, ball joints, and other wheel suspension parts may contribute to camber misalignment.
- Toe Alignment
Distinct from camber alignment, toe alignment is the extent to which your tyres turn inward or outward when viewed from above. If that’s confusing, just stand up and look down at your feet. Angle them inward toward the centre of your body. When the tyres on your car are angled the same way (remember, we’re thinking in terms of birds-eye-view), we call this toe-in alignment. Angle your feet outward, and you have toe-out alignment. Both require adjustment.
Drive Safe and keep safe!