Is your car pulling towards the left or the right? This could be a sign that your wheels need realigning. A wheel alignment basically ensures your car’s wheels and axles are squared with each other so they can effectively move in the same direction. Depending on your car’s make and model, the manufacturer may have designated specific angle degrees for the alignment.
A wheel alignment involves manually adjusting your vehicle’s suspension system. The process of adjusting the alignment involves tweaking different components within the suspension system to restore them to their correct position. Having a professional check your wheel alignment can improve your car’s overall handling, help your tyres last longer, and prevent issues with steering so you can have better control of your vehicle when driving.
When a mechanic is checking your wheel alignment, they will check three things: the camber, toe, and caster. When the tyre is viewed from the front of the vehicle, you may notice an inward or outward tilt. These tilts are known as camber and it is possible to have too much inward or outward tilt as a result of worn bearings or ball joints. The toe alignment refers to the extent your tyres tilt inward or outward, but viewed from above. Finally, there is the caster alignment which is viewed from the side of the vehicle. The caster angle helps to keep steering, cornering, and stability balanced. Positive caster will mean that the tyre is tilting towards the drive, whereas negative caster means the tyre is tilted towards the front of the vehicle.
When do I need a wheel alignment?
Unfortunately, there is no set amount of time that wheel alignment can last. Misalignment can happen from even the smallest of driving errors such as climbing a kerb or driving over a deep pothole. It is for this reason that it is recommended that you get your wheel alignment checked twice a year or every 10,000km, whichever comes first.
Aside from sticking to a regular service routine, there are also some signs you can look out for that will help to let you know that your vehicle needs a wheel repair. We’ve already mentioned that your car veering to the left or right when driving straight is a big sign that your wheels need to be realigned. There are a few other things to look out for such as your steering wheel being crooked even when you’re driving straight or your tyres making squealing noises. If your car is driving perfectly straight without making any strange noises, but you’re noticing that the tyres are uneven or rapidly wearing out then this could also be a result of a misalignment.
You can prevent any wheel alignment mishaps by removing any heavy weighted items that might be in the boot, keeping the correct air pressure in the tyres, and driving conservatively to avoid potholes and bumpy surfaces.
How does wheel balancing work?
Wheel balancing and alignment are actually two different adjustments. Although both contribute to a smoother ride when driving. Alignment is focused on balancing angles, whereas wheel balancing is to correct any weight imbalances on your tyres and wheel assembly.
You can identify unbalanced wheels by excessive tyre wear, vibrations, and general suspension issues. The process for rebalancing tyres involves mounting the tyres to a machine which will spin the tyre and wheel assembly to measure the imbalance. After this, a mechanic will be able to accurately install the correct tyre weights.
For your next wheel repair, wheel alignment or service visit Great Lakes Auto Centre. We have been servicing cars since 1988 and have been trained in the latest automotive technological advancements. Simply call (02) 6590 1375 and speak to one of our friendly customer service members to book your car’s next tyre service.