Hey Fellow Car Fans!
Today, I’m talking about wheel alignments. We have all heard the term. Some clients even come in because the car drifts or pulls and they think they might need one. The question is, how can you really tell?
Here is the skinny on wheel alignments. Most of the time, pulls and drifts are not caused by an incorrect wheel alignment. The cause is usually tire related. A wheel alignment usually just aids in the proper wear of your tires.
I will give you some terms or measurements associated with your suspension. The primary culprit for tire wear is a measurement called TOE. There is POSITIVE TOE, OR TOE IN. We describe this condition as Pigeon Toed, where the front of the tires are closer together than the rear. The next is NEGATIVE TOE, OR TOE OUT. We call this “Charlie Chaplin” where the front of the tires are further from each other than the rear of the tire. These misalignments cause the tires to scrub across the road and can rapidly cause tire wear.
The next alignment measurement that can cause wear is CAMBER. If you have ever seen a lowered car and noticed that the tops of the tires are tipped INWARD. This is called NEGATIVE CAMBER. Some negative camber is better if your car is meant to performance handle. This will allow the tire to “flatten out” to achieve more contact surface in a corner. POSITIVE CAMBER is when the top of the tire is tipped OUTWARD. Typically, not a good position of your tire. This can cause inner or outer tire edge wear. The last common alignment measurement is CASTER, this is the front and rear tilt of the top of the tire much like a shopping cart front wheel. If this measurement is off, it can cause a drift or pull. In many cars, CASTER AND CAMBER may not be adjustable. In some cars, ALL of them are adjustable.
Moving forward, keeping your vehicle alignment in check will keep the vehicle having less road drag, can save you many dollars in tire costs and even fuel costs.
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