How Are Wheels Aligned?
How Are Wheel Alignments Performed? — West Automotive Group
Proper wheel alignment is crucial to how well your car handles, the quality and comfort of your ride, and the usable life of your tires. Therefore, it’s important to have your alignment checked and corrected if necessary. The certified technicians at West Automotive Group in Miramar, California, know how to properly align your vehicle’s wheels, regardless of what make or model you own or which type of suspension it has. When you bring your auto to us, you can be sure you’re getting our pledge of excellence as well as the benefit of all the experience we’ve gained since 1993, the year we opened our business.
The Angles to be Aligned
Performing a professional wheel alignment means considering the kind of vehicle you have as well as addressing the major suspension angles. All wheels need to be aligned on front-wheel drive autos with adjustable rear suspensions or all-wheel drives. On the other hand, most others will need only front-wheel alignment, though it is possible that the rear wheels will also need to be adjusted relative to the car’s center through thrust-angle alignment. No matter the specific requirements of your car, an alignment is the process of squaring the axles and wheels to orient them similarly.
This is accomplished by adjusting the major suspension angles–camber, caster, toe, and thrust. The amount of tilt to the right or left is called camber. Caster refers to the slope of the imaginary line that can be drawn through the upper and lower ball joints, an angle that impacts steering. Toe describes the difference in distance between the back and front of the front tires, and thrust is the relationship of the rear axle to the front wheels. Adjusting these angles such that they once again meet the allowable tolerances is valuable to allowing your steering to be straight, the steering wheel to be centered, and to having wheels that move as they should without undue tire wear.
How It’s Done
As described, a wheel alignment is the process of adjusting the major suspension angles. This is not something that should be done at home, so you’ll want to take your auto to a certified technician. He/She should use a professional alignment machine to perform the work. This piece of equipment has parts resembling clamps that attach to the wheels. Once the vehicle is lifted into the air, a computer (connected as part of the alignment machine) measures precisely to determine what adjustments are needed. In addition to pushing or pulling all components back within tolerance, the technician will also look to ensure no suspension parts need replacing. With ASE and ATRA certified technicians, West Automotive Group in Miramar, California, is the best place to get a professional wheel alignment.