Wheel Alignment

Driving a magnificent car down a scenic highway is sheer pleasure: a harmonious combination of sophisticated precision machinery, speed and human control. However, for a car to function perfectly, the suspension geometry (the important angles between the wheels and axles) must be correct.

The gradual wear and tear of daily driving can wear down these angles. alignment. One of the main causes is driving over potholes, especially at high speed, or hitting a curb. Speed ??bumps can also cause problems.

Also, body repairs to the front or rear axle can alter wheel alignment or other driving parameters.

As such, it is important to review three key aspects of a car's suspension geometry while maximizing vehicle performance:

• Tracking, also known as toe-in, measures whether the front tires are closer together or further apart than the vehicle's rear tires. Same axis

• Camber, the vertical tilt of the tires relative to the Ground

• Caster, the rearward or forward tilt of the suspension system.

TRACKING - TOE AND TOE OUT

Tracking, the most important of these factors, is a measure (usually in millimetres) of the angle of the wheels on the same axle in relation to the vehicle's longitudinal centreline. If the front sides of the rims face each other, this is referred to as toe-in. If they face the opposite direction, they face each other.

Although the difference is not visible to the naked eye, the wheels are usually not perfectly parallel to each other and converge slightly. This alignment is intended to compensate for transient deformations that occur in the suspension geometry as a result of loads imposed by the vehicle when braking, accelerating or cornering.

The phenomenon occurs to a greater extent on production cars, which are designed for comfort and have the

suspension mounted on rubber blocks for added cushioning. For example, under braking, all wheels tend to open, while under acceleration, the drive wheels tend to close, especially on front-wheel drive vehicles that dominate the market.

SYMPTOMS OF POOR WHEEL ADJUSTMENT

Indications that a car needs to measure and balance its wheels are relatively easy to spot.

For example, if your steering wheel pulls left or right on a clean tarmac track, it's time to call in the experts. The same is true if an unusual vibration is felt in the steering wheel, although this can be caused by a variety of other problems.

Treadwear at a very uneven rate across the width of the tread tire is also a symptom. Excessive toe-in causes understeer in corners and the tread starts to wear from the outside. Toe-in causes oversteer and increased wear on the inside of tires.

If you run your hand over the tire tread, irregular patterns can be seen. When in doubt, it is best to check the car.

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