What is 4 Wheel Alignment?
It's important to maintain your vehicles wheel alignment to ensure all wheels point in the same direction so that your vehicle drives in a straight line.
Wheel alignment measurements are specified by motor manufacturers, so it's vitally important to have the wheel alignment checked and corrected if need be. By ensuring your wheel alignment is correct you are reducing the chances of premature tyre wear, improving the efficiency of your vehicle by reducing drag, maintaining optimum control and performance from your vehicle, keeping safety levels to the maximum and even reducing fuel consumption.
When having all four wheels aligned, three main elements will be checked and corrected:
- Camber - Identifies if your wheels are leaning too far away, or into your vehicle; this causes uneven wear on the inner or outer side of your car tyres. The amount of tilt on the wheel is not always noticeable to the naked eye but even a small amount can be enough to cause undue wear and make the car pull in directions it isn’t designed to - which in turn drastically reduces your vehicles handling.
- Toe - Identifies which direction the wheels are pointing relative to the centreline of the vehicle. Imagine each pair of tyres as a pair of feet - with toes pointing in or out, away from the straight/centre position. Problems with toe alignment can cause the edges of your tyres to wear excessively and mean your vehicles tyres will need replacing quicker, thus costing you more. Toe misalignment can also affect the steering and control of your vehicle.
- Caster - Is the angle created by the steering pivots, from the front to the back of the vehicle. If you were to imagine the forks on a bicycle pointing at an angle to meet the centre of the wheel - it's easy to see how much room there is for a cars equivalent steering pivot to move out of the correctly angled position, which can cause problems in your vehicles handling and performance.
How do I know if my wheels are misaligned?
There are signs to look out for which will signify even the slightest misalignment of your cars wheels:
- Uneven tyre wear signifies incorrect camber and toe alignment. If the wholly designed surface area of the tyre is not in contact with the road, you will notice the tread wearing unevenly on the inside, outside or edge of the tyre. The easiest way to check your tyres for wear is to turn your wheels full lock to each side, this ensures you see the full width of the tyre and are able to see any irregular wear on your tyre tread.
- If you notice your vehicle pulling or drifting slightly to the left or right when driving down a straight road, it is highly likely your wheels are misaligned.
- A crooked steering wheel also signifies misaligned wheels. If your steering wheel does not sit straight, even when driving straight, it's likely the camber is wrong and will need correcting.
When should I have my wheel alignment checked?
As a general rule you should have your wheel alignment checked once a year. However it is highly recommended you have your wheel alignment checked when:
- You hit a pot hole or curb
- Major work is undertaken on your steering or suspension
- You have new tyres fitted
- If you have been involved in any kind of accident or collision
Why choose 4 Wheel Alignment?
The components on modern cars are becoming ever more complex. Comfort, performance and handling are traits which are specifically included in the design of modern vehicles, each of these elements are all heavily affected by the misalignment of your vehicles wheels.
2 wheel alignment, also known as tracking or toe adjustment is available at most garages. However, if only the two front wheels are aligned you are very likely to still notice some of the previously mentioned problems - meaning the safety of your vehicle as well as the general wear and tear on your vehicle could still be heavily at risk.
Currently the following HiQ Easy Tyre & Autocentres offer our 4 Wheel Alignment service:
Call your nearest fitting centre which offers this service and one of our fully trained technicians will be happy to help with any queries you might have about 4 Wheel Alignment.