WHAT IS A WHEEL ALIGNMENT AND FACTORS INFLUENCING IT

We’re AME Automotive, your trusted family-owned auto shop in Perth. We’ve been aligning wheels and more for over 30 years.

It’s not just about straight driving; proper wheel alignment impacts fuel efficiency and tyre lifespan too! Factors like driving habits and road conditions can throw it off.

We’ll help you understand what wheel alignment is, why it’s important, and how to spot problems before they affect your drive.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

Understanding the Basics of Wheel Alignment

In AME, we’ll make sure to explain the basics of wheel alignment and how it’s crucial for your car’s performance. Wheel alignment refers to adjusting the angles of your wheels, so they’re set to your car manufacturer’s specifications. It ensures that your tyres are hitting the road at the proper angle and helps them last longer.

Poorly aligned wheels can lead to several problems: from uneven tyre wear, poor fuel economy, strain on steering components, to a shaky or unstable ride. We’ve seen it all in our 30 years of experience!

When we align your wheels, we’re ensuring that they’re parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. This reduces rolling resistance which means smoother rides and better fuel efficiency for you.

We also check if there’s an issue with ‘camber’, ‘toe’, or ‘caster’. These terms may sound foreign now but trust us when we say they’re vital in achieving optimal alignment!

The Importance of Proper Wheel Alignment

Maintaining your tyres in the correct position is essential for balanced driving and long-lasting tyre life. When we align your wheels, we’re adjusting the angles of the tyres which affects how they make contact with the road. It’s not just about keeping your vehicle looking sharp; it’s also about maximizing its performance.

Poor wheel alignment can lead to serious issues down the line such as uneven tyre wear, pulling to one side while driving, or a steering wheel that isn’t centred. We’ve seen firsthand how these problems can turn into costly repairs if left unaddressed. That’s why we’re so adamant about proper wheel alignment.

We understand that you’ve got plenty on your plate without worrying about whether your car is veering slightly to the left or right. But ignoring this crucial aspect of car maintenance could end up costing us more time and money in the long run.

Trust us when we say, regular check-ups and adjustments can extend your tyre life significantly and save you from unwanted headaches. Let’s keep those wheels turning properly – after all, they’re what keeps us moving forward!

Factors That Influence Wheel Alignment

There’re several elements that play a significant role in the positioning of your tyres. These factors greatly influence wheel alignment, and it’s crucial we understand them to ensure our vehicles perform at their optimum.

Firstly, driving habits contribute significantly. If we’re prone to hard braking, fast cornering or driving over potholes and speed bumps, we’ll likely need alignments more frequently.

Secondly, components of the suspension system like bushings wear out over time which also affect alignment.

Thirdly, accidents are another major factor. Even minor fender-benders can alter our vehicle’s alignment. We should always get a wheel alignment check after any incident.

Lastly, modifications made to our cars such as changing tyre size or installing lift kits can throw off the alignment too.

It’s important for us to monitor these factors closely because they directly impact the lifespan of our tyres and overall safety on the road. Regular checks and maintenance will help us detect misalignment early before it leads to major problems down the line.

Remember: when you trust us with your vehicle maintenance needs including wheel alignments, we’ve got you covered! We’ll ensure your wheels are perfectly aligned so you can enjoy smooth drives every time.

Symptoms of Misaligned Wheels

You’ll notice some obvious signs if your car’s tyres aren’t lined up right. One of the most common symptoms we’ve observed is the vehicle pulling to one side while driving. If you’re constantly correcting your steering to maintain a straight line, it’s likely your wheels are misaligned.

Another symptom is uneven tyre wear. If you inspect your tyres and find that they’re wearing down faster on one side than the other, this could be due to poor wheel alignment. This not only shortens the lifespan of your tyres but can also reduce fuel efficiency.

A vibrating steering wheel is another telltale sign. When wheels don’t line up correctly, they fight against each other and cause vibrations that can be felt in the steering wheel.

Lastly, if you’ve noticed that your steering wheel isn’t centred when driving straight, it might suggest an alignment problem too.

In any case, when these symptoms appear, it’s best to get them checked out by professionals like us at AME Automotive immediately. We’ll accurately diagnose and fix any alignment issues, ensuring a smooth ride for you and minimizing potential damage to your car in the long run.

The Process of Wheel Alignment Adjustment

At AME Automotive, we’ve developed a standardized process for adjusting the positioning of your car’s tyres to improve its performance and lifespan. It starts when we place your vehicle on our advanced alignment machine. This tool accurately measures the tyres angles – camber, caster, and toe. If they’re not within the manufacturer’s specifications, we adjust them accordingly.

Next, we check the suspension system to ensure its functioning correctly. Any issues here could throw off the wheel alignment again quickly. We’ll replace or repair any components as necessary before proceeding.

Once done with that, we recheck all measurements to confirm they’re accurate and make final adjustments if needed. It’s an intricate process requiring precision and knowledge, but it’s something we’ve perfected over our years in business.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Common Misconceptions About Wheel Alignment?

We’re often told wheel alignment is only needed after hitting a pothole. That’s not true! Regular wear, changes in driving conditions, and even tyre replacement can all affect alignment. It’s more than just bumps!

How Often Should a Wheel Alignment Be Performed on My Car?

We’d recommend getting your car’s wheel alignment checked every two to three years. However, if you’re noticing uneven tyre wear, steering issues, or your vehicle pulling to one side, get it checked sooner.

Can I Perform a Wheel Alignment on My Own at Home?

We wouldn’t recommend attempting a wheel alignment at home. It requires specialized tools and expertise. Incorrect alignment can cause tyre wear and steering issues. It’s best to trust professionals like us with this task.

What Is the Cost of Getting a Wheel Alignment at AME Automotive?

We’re often asked about the cost of wheel alignments at AME Automotive. Prices can vary, but we guarantee it’s competitive and fair. Our focus is on providing top quality service without breaking your bank.

Are There Specific Signs That My Car Needs a Wheel Alignment, aside from the Ones Mentioned in the Article?

Absolutely, there’re additional signs your car might need a wheel alignment. These include uneven tyre wear, steering wheel vibration, or your car pulling to one side. We’d recommend getting it checked if you notice these.

Conclusion

At AME Automotive, we’re dedicated to ensuring your car’s optimal performance. We offer services like wheel alignment to help achieve this goal. Understanding how driving habits, road conditions, and wear and tear affect alignment is crucial. It allows us to provide top-notch service and address any potential issues.

We believe that proper wheel alignment is more than just an adjustment. It’s about extending your vehicle’s life. That’s why we go the extra mile to inform you about potential problems and help prevent future issues.

And that’s not all! We also provide a thorough car clean after the work is done. Trust us to take care of your car and its alignment needs.

Correct wheel alignment is crucial for safe handling and long tyre life. If you are experiencing hard steering, poor driveability and premature failure of suspension parts, there’s a good chance your alignment needs to be checked. Aligning a car involves the adjustment of the vehicle’s suspension, and the direction and the angles that the tyres point in after the alignment is complete are critically important. There are four main factors involved in setting the alignment to specification: caster, camber, toe and tracking.

Toe and Tracking

The two most critical alignment settings for front-end tyre wear. Toe describes whether the fronts of the tyres are closer (toe-in) or farther apart (toe-out) than the rears of the tyres and is the most commonly needed alignment adjustment. Having too much toe, either in or out, will make the front wheels fight each other, resulting in instability at higher speeds, and substantially increased tyre wear. Tracking, or thrust, is gauged relative to the vehicle centre line, and tracking misalignment also causes inside and outside tyre wear.

Camber

Camber is the tilt of the top of the tyre according to how it sits on the road and is important for several reasons. Its main purpose is to keep the tyre flat on the road while the vehicle is loaded and in motion. If you are looking at the wheels on a vehicle, having the top of the tyre tilting in towards the vehicle is called negative camber, and if the top of the wheel is tilting out from the vehicle, this is positive camber. To allow for even tyre wear, most vehicles are set to neutral or slightly negative camber. Having too much negative camber will wear the inside of the tyres, and having too much positive camber will cause the outside of the tyre to wear quicker. Camber is the one adjustment that can be set according to driving habits.

Caster

Caster is the angle of the steering axis and is only set on the front suspension of a vehicle. Caster is important to steering feel and high-speed stability, and it does not usually affect tyre wear. On most vehicles caster angle is set in a positive manner which assists in steering and vehicle stability at higher speeds. Caster also helps the steering wheel return to the centre after turning,

Signs You Need a Wheel Alignment

There are some noticeable signs that could indicate your vehicle needs a wheel alignment. You may be able to spot poor alignment by sight, but there are other common signs including:

  • The vehicle excessively pulls to one side – A vehicle should drive straight ahead with very little effort on the steering wheel. If your vehicle pulls to the left or the right, it’s time to have your alignment checked and corrected.
  • The steering wheel is not straight/centred – If you’re driving straight down a flat, level road, the steering wheel should be sitting close to perfectly straight. If the wheel is off centre by more than a few degrees, you need a wheel alignment.
  • Uneven tyre wear – Wear on only the inside or outside edges of tyres indicates a problem with the camber adjustment. Feathering of the tyres often indicates a problem with the toe adjustment.
  • Loose handling – If your steering feels a bit unstable or loose while driving, you should have the alignment checked.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then book your vehicle in for a wheel alignment with a qualified mechanic. Incorrect wheel alignment can create a host of problems, so it’s best to get the vehicle inspected as soon as it’s noticed.

AME Auto are Perth’s leading vehicle servicing specialists. We can provide a full range of vehicle maintenance services including wheel alignments, tyre repairs, replacement tyres, log book servicing and more. Contact us today to make an appointment with our experienced and professional automotive team.