TeamAckoOct 23, 2023
Being a car owner is an exciting feeling. However, it does come with a lot of responsibilities. You have to ensure regular maintenance of the car so it functions well. These maintenance are essential to prevent vehicle damage and accidents. Of the major components in your car maintenance checklist is wheel alignment.
Wheel alignment or tyre alignment ensures the proper functioning and longevity of your tyres. It is a crucial aspect of car maintenance, impacting fuel efficiency, tire wear and handling. Misaligned wheels might lead to uneven tire wear, poor fuel economy and safety of your vehicle. It is, therefore, essential to perform wheel alignment for a smoother driving experience. Here is a comprehensive guide on the importance of car wheel alignment, its types, signs of misalignment and more.
Wheel alignment refers to adjusting the angles of the wheels. It helps the wheels stay parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. This adjustment system connects the wheel to your vehicle called the suspension. The suspension system keeps all four tires working together at the same speed and direction. Adjusting the suspension also offers better tire contact with the road. However, the primary purpose of getting the wheels aligned is to optimize the lifespan of tires and ensure that the car moves straight without pulling to one side.
Wheel alignment is an essential part of your vehicle service, which impacts the handling and safety of the vehicle. Here are some reasons why wheel alignment is necessary:
Misalignment can cause many issues, such as making the car drift or pull to one side and cause the steering wheel to vibrate. By aligning the wheels, these issues get rectified, leading to a smoother/comfortable ride, better handling, and improved steering response. It also reduces driver fatigue and enhances the driving experience.
Misaligned wheels often lead to uneven and premature tire wear. By aligning your wheels, you can ensure uniform contact of tires with the road, optimized tread performance and enhanced tire lifespan. It can reduce the frequency of tire replacement, leading to long-term cost reduction.
Proper wheel alignment contributes to optimal fuel efficiency. When the wheels are misaligned, the car's engine works harder to move the vehicle forward, leading to higher fuel consumption. When the wheels are aligned, it reduces the rolling resistance, allowing the car to run more efficiently and reducing carbon emissions.
Suspension systems safeguard you and your vehicle from accidents. They also maintain the wheel alignment to avoid rolling over when driving the car. Misaligned wheels can lead to uneven wear and tear of suspension components. Hence, regular alignment checks and adjustments can prevent excessive wear on shocks, struts and other suspension components, extending their lifespan.
With misaligned wheels, you can have difficulty controlling the car, especially during sudden turns, stops or challenging weather conditions. There is a high risk of accidents in such scenarios. Proper wheel alignment ensures stable vehicle control, reducing the chances of vehicle handling and enhancing road safety.
Maintaining proper wheel alignment helps the overall well-being of your car. A well-maintained vehicle with a regular wheel alignment will probably have a higher resale value than one without a history of wheel alignment. It indicates a well-cared-for car, reducing the depreciation rate.
Regular wheel alignment is a type of preventative maintenance. It identifies and corrects the alignment before any extensive damage happens. It checks the state of the steering and suspension system, detecting issues early and reducing the probability of expensive repairs in the future.
Here are three types of car wheel alignment:
Front-end Alignment: Otherwise known as "two-wheel alignment, front-end alignment adjusts the front wheels and is suitable for vehicles with a solid rear axle.
Four-wheel Alignment: This type checks all four wheels and adjusts rear suspensions. It aligns both front and rear wheel pairs to the centerline.
Thrust-angle Alignment: This type of alignment adjusts the front wheels and ensures the rear wheels' thrust angle is aligned with the centerline.
Three primary types of wheel alignment exist:
Toe Alignment: This focuses on the angle of the tires when viewed from above. If the front edges of the tires point towards each other, it's called "toe-in." If they point away from each other, it's "toe-out." Proper toe alignment ensures the tires are parallel.
Camber Alignment: Camber refers to the vertical angle of the tire. If the top of the tire leans outward, it's a "positive camber," and if it leans inward, it's a "negative camber." The goal is a slight negative camber to ensure even tire wear.
Caster Alignment: When viewed from the side, the caster measures the steering axis's forward or backward tilt. It affects stability and steering. A correct caster alignment helps your vehicle track straight and improves steering. Positive caster means the steering axis tilts towards the driver, and negative means it leans towards the front of the vehicle.
Some signs of misaligned wheels include:
Uneven or rapid tire wear
Signalling crooked steering wheels when driving straight
Vehicle pulling to one side when driving
Vibration in the steering wheel
Abnormal tread wear
When: Expert recommends getting a wheel alignment done every two to three years or 6000 miles or as given in the vehicle's manual. However, getting a wheel alignment done becomes necessary if you sense any signs of misalignment or have hit a pothole.
Where: Car Wheel alignment should only be done by qualified technicians having proper wheel alignment machines. Most tire shops and auto-repair service centres will have wheel alignment services.
Cost: Wheel alignment cost may vary based on the vehicle's make and model. It also depends on the type of tire alignment performed. Hence, checking with the service centre about the wheel alignment cost before proceeding is recommended. The wheel alignment cost generally falls from Rs. 150 to Rs. 300 per wheel.
Also Read : Difference Between Wheel Alignment and Balancing
Car tire alignment is a pivotal element of car maintenance. It influences a tire's lifespan, fuel efficiency, comfort and safe handling. Recognizing the signs of misalignment and addressing them promptly will prevent premature wear and tear and maintain the optimal performance of your vehicle.
Ensure you regularly inspect tires for uneven wear and check the tire pressure. Drive safely and avoid hitting curbs or driving through potholes. Rotating tires regularly will ensure even wear. Ensure you follow the maintenance guidelines to align your wheels and experience smooth and safe driving.
Similar to how wheel alignment is necessary for a smooth driving experience, car insurance is necessary for a smooth ownership experience. Buying third-party car insurance is mandatory as per law, and it safeguards you against financial and legal implications due to road mishaps. To buy and learn more about motor insurance, you can explore ACKO!
Wheel alignment is a process to adjust the angles of your car's wheels to the specifications given by the manufacturer. It needs to be done to optimize the wheel's contact with the road. It is also vital for proper tire wear, car handling, fuel efficiency and safe driving.
Typically, wheel alignment must be done once every two to three years or as the manufacturer advises. However, some signs you must pay attention to are uneven or rapid tire wear, the vehicle pulling to one side, vibration in the steering wheel, and squealing tires. These are some indicators that your car needs a wheel alignment.
Wheel alignment costs may vary based on the vehicle's make and model. It also depends on the type of tire alignment performed. Hence, checking with the service centre about the wheel alignment cost before proceeding is recommended. The wheel alignment cost generally falls from Rs. 150 to Rs. 300 per wheel.
Tire alignment is necessary for your car's overall health and performance. It enhances tire life, improves fuel efficiency, ensures safety, reduces wear and tear, retains vehicle value and enhances driving experience.
Wheel alignment services will typically check and adjust camber, caster and toe angles. It also includes inspecting the steering and suspension systems and ensuring the steering wheels are centred and intact.
Technically, it is possible to perform the wheel alignment at home, but it is not recommended. Proper alignment requires a wheel alignment machine, equipment, and expertise to make precise adjustments. Hence, getting the tire alignment done at your auto-service centre would be best.
Misalignment wheels increase rolling resistance, causing the car to consume more fuel. Proper wheel alignment will help improve fuel efficiency.
The three types of wheel alignment angles include camber, toe and caster.
Camber: It is the inward or outward tilt of the top of the tire.
Toe: It refers to whether the fronts of the tires are closer or farther apart than the rears of the tires.
Caster: It is the angle of the steering axis.
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