Do you find that your car pulls to one side when you’re driving? Or maybe there’s a shudder through the steering wheel at certain speeds. These are common signs that your wheels need aligning.
The actual cause of misaligned wheels can mean different methods are used to fix the problem. There are a few different types of wheel alignment, and each has its own purpose.
If you want to know more about what goes on when you take your car in to have the wheels aligned, keep reading.
What Is Wheel Alignment?
Before we dive into the types of wheel alignment, it’s important to establish what wheel alignment actually is.
To the naked eye, it probably looks like your wheels are all pointing in the same direction. It may even feel like that at low speeds. But even the most minuscule difference in the angle of each wheel can have a major effect on comfort, performance, and economy. Not to mention it’ll drastically shorten the life of your tires.
A wheel alignment is a precise adjustment to the angle of each wheel to ensure that they work efficiently.
What Are the Different Types of Wheel Alignment?
There are three main types of wheel alignment, and the method used to align tires on your car depends on the problem and the type of car you own. A mechanic will use different wheel alignment equipment for each method.
Thrust Angle Alignment
A thrust angle alignment is a way of ensuring that the front axle is aligned with both the rear axle and the centre of the vehicle. An imaginary line is drawn from the centre of the rear axle through the centre of the vehicle and the wheels are lined up with it.
For the most accurate alignment possible, a four-wheel alignment is a good option. The mechanic will attach individual sensors to each wheel that will measure and balance the angle of the wheel and bring them each into alignment.
A front-end alignment is often all that’s needed for front-wheel-drive cars. Rather than aligning the wheels to each other, the front wheels are aligned to the centre of the vehicle.
Do I Need to Get My Wheels Aligned?
Over time, wheels can become misaligned through normal wear and tear, but there are also few things that can actually cause wheels to go out of balance:
- Impact with curbs
- Aggressive driving
- Height modification (suspension upgrades)
If you’ve noticed your car pulling to one side, or you can feel shuddering or shaking through the steering wheel, it’s likely that you’ll need to see a mechanic.
Misaligned tires can not only be uncomfortable and costly, they can also be dangerous.
Thankfully, wheel alignment is something that most mechanics are able to do. While there are different types of wheel alignment, none of them are overly expensive or complicated.
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