Efficiency in proper tire alignment
STANDING START - Lord Seno (The Freeman) - September 28, 2020 - 12:00am

Tire alignment, also known as wheel alignment, is one of the most overlooked procedures in a vehicle. But a vehicle owner should never discount the benefits of a properly aligned set of tires.

It can help your tires perform properly and help them last longer. In fact, this must-do procedure should be done correctly as it can also greatly affect the vehicle’s handling and avoid all the other problems like pulling in one direction or vibrating strangely on the road.

Tire Alignment refers to an adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension – the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. Basically, it is an adjustment of tires, steering system, the suspension and the chassis, synching them to one to enhance handling. The key to proper alignment is adjusting the angles of the tires, which affects how they make contact with the road.

How will I know if my vehicle needs wheel alignment? There are a couple ways to tell if your car needs a tire alignment. If you’ve noticed one or more of these indicators, you should have your alignment checked by a trusted service center.

The more obvious symptoms of mis-aligned wheels are Uneven tread wear, your vehicle pulling to the left or right, your steering wheel is off center when driving straight, steering wheel vibration and handling difficulties. When a technician checks your tire alignment, he or she is mainly concerned with four things:

1. TOE or toe alignment is the extent to which your tires turn inward or outward when viewed from above. If that’s not confusing enough, just take the example of when you stand up and look down on your feet. Angle them inward toward the center of your body. When the tires on your car are angled inwards, we call this TOE-IN. Angle your feet outward and that is called TOE-OUT alignment. Both require adjustment and synchronization.

2. CAMBER - This is the inward or outward angle of the tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Too much inward or outward tilt, also known as negative and positive camber, respectively, indicates improper alignment and will need to be adjusted. Worn bearings, ball joints, and other wheel-suspension parts may contribute to camber misalignment.

3. CASTER - Your caster angle helps balance steering, stability, and cornering. Specifically, it’s the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle. If you have positive caster, the steering axis will tilt toward the driver. Negative caster, on the other hand, means the steering axis tilts toward the front of your vehicle. Some cars have fixed Caster settings, with toe and camber the only adjustments to wheel alignment.

4.TIRE BALANCING - Distinct from tire alignment but complimentary to the procedure, tire or wheel balancing refers to compensation for any weight imbalances in the tire/wheel combination and is often performed in conjunction with wheel alignment. This is done with a tire balancing machine operated by a qualified technician.

Why tire alignment matters

Improper wheel or tire alignment can cause your tires to wear unevenly and prematurely leading to addition operating costs. Having tires aligned and balanced every 20,000km or every time you change suspension components can help maximize their lifespan and overall performance.

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