Alignment is an important quality of a vehicle. It refers to how the wheels of the vehicle line up with each other. There are three major elements of alignment: caster, camber and toe. Making sure these are within the recommended specifications can help you to ensure that your vehicle drives smoothly and safely.
How To Tell If Your Car’s Wheel Alignment Is Off
There are a number of signs that may indicate an alignment issue. The most noticeable is that your steering wheel may not be centered while driving straight. Similarly, you may experience the vehicle pulling to one side or the other.
Other symptoms include uneven tire wear, especially on the edges of the tread, noisy steering and squealing tires. If you notice any of these issues, you should check your alignment. You will need to measure the alignment and compare it against the correct threshold. This is vehicle specific, so don’t try to use a Chevy Avalanche wheel alignment repair guide on a Ford Mustang.
- Caster: This is the angle at which the steering axis intersects with the wheel. This can be measured by turning the wheel inwards, leveling a tool called a bubble gauge and turning the wheel outward to find the difference in the level. This is difficult to do without specialized tools in a shop. Most vehicles’ caster can’t be easily adjusted.
- Camber: This is the angle that the wheel is tilted inwards or outwards from the body of the vehicle. This can be measured using a right triangular measure. Simply push the triangle up against the wheel while it is flat on the ground. Measure the distance between the triangle at the other side of the wheel. Calculate the angle to get the camber.
- Toe: Toe is whether the wheels are turned inward towards each other or outward away from each other. You can measure this by checking the difference between the distance between the midpoints of the front set of wheels and the back set. This difference will likely be small if there is any, so measure carefully.
How To Fix Wheel Alignment
To fix alignment, you will need to adjust the suspension, then check the alignment again to ensure it is in the correct threshold. In most cases, you won’t make changes to the caster. So, you will only need to adjust the toe and the camber (typically just the toe).
The specifics of this depend on the vehicle. So, you will need to adjust different Chevy Silverado auto parts than Toyota Camry parts. However, all modern vehicles have adjustable components that you can move to fix the alignment.
Fix Your Alignment Today
Learn more today about how to fix your alignment. Although it may sound complicated, if you follow the steps provided in your service manual, you may be surprised how easy it can be.
With a few tools, you can achieve even more than just changing the alignment. For example, you could replace a bad MAF sensor. Additionally, you can take on maintenance tasks such as changing the oil and brake pads. Get started today and take care of your car or truck.