Talk to Vermont Automotive Services about your wheel alignment today.
We can combine our fully qualified expertise and knowledge with our local understanding of the driving conditions in cities of Maroondah and Whitehorse and Melbourne East to not only make sure your wheels are aligned correctly, but to confirm there are no underlying issues with the technologies behind the wheel that keep you safe on the roads.
Read more about Why only qualified technicians should perform wheel alignment procedures here.
What is a Wheel alignment?
Put simply, the term "wheel alignment" refers to how well the wheels on your vehicle are aligned relative to each other, as well as to the centre line of the vehicle. While alignment settings can differ between manufacturers and models, all vehicles are designed to deliver precise steering and braking responses - but only if the wheel alignment angles are correct for that vehicle.
Benefits of Wheel Alignment
- Increased fuel economy.
- Prolonged tyre life.
- Braking and steering response is improved.
- Straight-line tracking is improved, and driver fatigue is reduced since the overall driving experience is improved.
As your car gets older, the suspension components will start wearing. They will start to get "looser" - this means, the wheels are not making contact with the road like they used to. Instead of the tyres rolling nice and freely, they start to drag, causing the tyres to wear prematurely and increasing the cars fuel consumption.
At Vermont Automotive Services we look at all the angles, while many other shops only adjust Toe. We understand how important a proper wheel alignment is, and take the time to do the job properly. Your car would be inspected by trained technicians and then test driven to make sure that the car drives correctly and that your steering wheel is level.
What is Toe, Camber and Caster?
Toe, Camber and Caster are the angles that effect how your car drives down the road. Only Toe and Camber have an effect on tyre wear.
Toe: The angle of the tyres from a top-down view. If they are angled inwards this is referred to as Toe In, if they are angled outwards, this is referred to as Toe Out. Having an incorrect Toe can affect your tyre wear. Please see Toe-In difference in a graph.
Having correct Toe will help the car drive true down the road. With equal amounts of Toe on both sides of the car, the forces are applied equally and thus the car drives straight.
If your Toe has changed or not been set correctly, you may experience the car pulling to either the left or right side of the road, erratic or sensitive steering direction, as well as the steering wheel may be off-centre.
Camber: The angle of the wheels' vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface. This angle can also affect your tyre wear. Negative Camber is when the tyres begin to tilt inwards towards the fender well. Positive Camber is when the top of the tyres begin to tilt away from the vehicle. Having a Correct Camber can result in even tyre wear.
Camber affects the cars stability when driving down the road. An indicator that your Camber is incorrectly adjusted is: if your car seems to follow every bump and uneven surface, this is because your tyres are not equally applying force.
Caster: The angle created by the steering pivot points from the front and back of the vehicle. Caster can be more difficult to understand than Toe and Camber. Positive Caster is if the line is angled forward. Negative Caster is if the line is angled backwards.
If the Caster is correctly adjusted, the car should drive true. However if Caster is uneven, then the car will naturally pull to the side with the most amount of positive caster.
Another way to understand Caster is to use a kitchen knife (take care as they can be sharp), hold the knife upright at 90 degrees to the table, with your thumb and forefinger try to push the knife along the table. You should notice that it is difficult to do and that the knife just doesn't seem to go anywhere. This is the centre line of your car. If you drop the top of the knife down to the 2 o'clock position you should notice two things. 1st, that the knife has become heavier and 2nd - it now goes were you want it to go. Just like your car.
Not all cars can make the adjustments above, but if they can it is strongly recommended that these be done, so you can be as safe and confident as possible on the road.
Signs You Need A Wheel Alignment
Maintaining the wheel alignment on your car is an integral aspect of its overall maintenance and upkeep. However, this very important step is often ignored or skipped until the first symptoms of poor wheel alignment show up in the form of ruined tyres. Here are some common signs to look out for:
- Uneven or accelerated wear on the edges of your tyres
- The steering has a "mushy" feel or has become less responsive.
- If your car's steering wheel pulls to one side.
When should you get a wheel alignment?
Obviously, the best time to get a wheel alignment is when noticeable symptoms of poor alignment are present, but there are also other "best" times:
- When you rotate the tyres
- When you replace one or more tyres
- When you replace standard, steel rims with lightweight alloy rims.
- After any maintenance or repairs on steering or suspension systems - both front and rear.
- When you perform any modification that alters the vehicle ride height or weight distribution.
If you would like to know more about Wheel Alignment check out the following articles:
What causes wheel alignment to "go bad"?
Importance of wheel alignment on new tyres
Wheel Alignment vs Wheel Balance
Types of Wheel Alignment and Procedures
Why only qualified technicians should perform wheel alignment procedures