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Importance of Wheel Alignment and Balancing

Posted at Mon, Jan 11, 2021 3:00 PM

tiresImportance of Wheel Alignment and Balancing

Your car is a complex system with many inner-working parts. So once any of the parts are damaged, it will certainly affect the other parts as well. One such condition can arise and create problems if there is an incorrect alignment of wheels. A problem with alignment triggers a problem with the suspension and affects your vehicle’s tires. In a way, we can say that wheel alignment involves the fine-tuning of the suspension, so that the wheels are pointed in the right direction.

What exactly is wheel alignment?

Alignment means an adjustment made to the suspension of the vehicle, the very system that connects a vehicle to the wheels. Wheel alignment is not referred to as regular maintenance, but experts recommend it to be done every year or say twice a year if needed.

While checking your vehicle for an alignment, your technician might refer to the below-listed things mostly:

  • Camber: It is better known as the inward or outward angle of the tire when the same is viewed from the front. If there is significant outward or inward tilt, it is called negative or positive camber. This will call for incorrect alignment and needs to be fixed. Camber misalignments can be caused if there are worn-out bearings, ball joints, and other parts of the suspension, which are just not right.
  • Caster: The caster angle helps your vehicle to balance the steering, cornering, and the stability parts. The steering axis will be tilted towards the driver of the vehicle, if there is a case of positive caster. If the axis tilts towards the vehicle’s front, it is known as a negative caster.
  • Toe: Toe alignment means to what extent does your tire turn outward or inward when seen from above. To make it easier to understand, view your toes from above. If your toe angles appear to be inwards, then you are facing a toe-in alignment. Hence, if while looking down at your toe angle is outward, you have toe-out alignment.

Causes of incorrect wheel alignment

A very common phenomenon of misalignment happens when your vehicle hits something hard at a certain speed. If your car encounters manholes and potholes which are not covered, it can cause serious damage to your suspension. It will also affect the wheel alignment, and balancing, your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will drastically be affected, and will have an adverse effect on your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. In the long run, it will affect your most important aspect, safety. So, avoid hitting small potholes, and curbs as they can also cause misalignment of your vehicle. Prevention is better than cure, so look into the matter in the early stages of damage itself.

Symptoms of misalignment

If you experience problems with the functioning of your vehicle, and it seems to be not aligned, you should watch out for the following symptoms:

  • When the vehicle is pulling to either side: To check whether your vehicle is facing an alignment issue, better take it to a flat parking place and drive down the vacant place. You should watch out for how your vehicle is responding.
  • The vibration of the steering wheels: If your vehicle vibrates at a higher speed, this could lead to tire wear or tire blow-out. This should be addressed quickly.
  • Uneven tire wear: The cause of tire wear is the impact between the vehicle and the road. This could adversely affect your tires' health, so you should see into the matter immediately.
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