Wheel alignment is the adjusting of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. Having your wheels in proper alignment insures that your tires have maximum thread life. Also it can affect your gas mileage, steering, and tracking problems.
Computerized wheel alignment equipment is used to measure all alignment angles on today’s cars. These include both adjustable and non-adjustable angles. (Non-adjustable angles require repair or replacement of the suspension component.) The most common adjustable angles are:
Camber refers to the angle of the wheel and the tilt. A wheel leaning out of camber is positive, and wheel leaning in camber is negative. If the camber is out of adjustment, it will cause tire wear on one side of the tire’s tread. If the camber is too far negative, for instance, then the tire will wear on the inside of the tread.
Caster is the angle of the steering pivot measured in degrees. A positive caster is tilted back towards the rear. Tilted forward is a negative caster. Having a proper caster angle stabilizes the cars steering.
Toe-In is the measurement the difference between the front tires and the back tires. Measured by inches, if it set close to zero it means that wheels are parallel with each other. An incorrect toe-in will cause rapid tire wear to both tires equally.
Thrust angle is the direction that the rear wheels are pointing in relation to the centerline of the vehicle. If the thrust angle is not zero, then the vehicle will “dog track” and the steering wheel will not be centered. The best solution is to first adjust the rear toe to the centerline and then adjust the front toe. This is normally done during a 4-wheel alignment as long as the rear toe is adjustable. If the rear is not adjustable, then the front toe must be set to compensate for the thrust angle, allowing the steering to be centered.
DID YOU KNOW?
Wheels are aligned with specific settings for toe-in and toe-out, positive and negative camber, and positive and negative castor. Each vehicle model can have different settings. Poor alignment affects your handling and causes your tires to wear very quickly. At Dick Adams Automotive in Salinas we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 831.758.8277 and let us help keep you safely and economically on the road.