WHEEL ALIGNMENT & BALANCE
WHY IS WHEEL ALIGNMENT IMPORTANT?
Proper wheel alignment is key to prolonging the life of your tires, bearings, shocks, and other suspension components.
A wheel alignment greatly influences your vehicle’s performance. If your vehicle is misaligned, it can cause the tires to wear unevenly, and you may experience handling problems such as pulling or abnormal vibration.
Although adjustments to wheel alignment and tire balancing are not necessary on a regular basis, you should consider getting an alignment check if there is unusual tire wear or if the vehicle is significantly pulling to one side or the other.
Camber is the tilting of the wheels from the vertical when viewed from the front of the vehicle. When the wheels tilt outward at the top, the camber is positive. When the wheels tilt inward at the top, the camber is negative. The amount of tilt is measured in degrees from the vertical. Camber settings influence the directional control and the tire wear.
HOW DOES CAMBER AFFECT WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
- Too much positive camber will result in premature tire wear on the outside of the tire and can cause excessive wear on the suspension parts.
- Too much negative camber will result in premature tire wear on the inside of the tire and can cause excessive wear on the suspension parts.
- Unequal side-to-side camber of 1 degree or more will cause the vehicle to pull or lead to the side with the most positive camber.
Caster is the tilting of the uppermost point of the steering axis either forward or backward, when viewed from the side of the vehicle. A backward tilt is positive and a forward tilt is negative. Caster influences directional control of the steering but does not affect tire wear. Caster is affected by the vehicle height; therefore, it is important to keep the body at its designed height. Overloading the vehicle or a weak or sagging rear spring will affect caster. When the rear of the vehicle is lower than its designated trim height, the front suspension moves to a more positive caster. If the rear of the vehicle is higher than its designated trim height, the front suspension moves to a less positive caster.
HOW DOES CASTER AFFECT WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
- With not enough positive caster, steering may be touchy at high speeds and wheel returnability may be diminished when coming out of a turn.
- If one wheel has more positive caster than the other, that wheel will pull toward the center of the vehicle. This condition will cause the vehicle to pull or lead to the side with the least amount of positive caster.
ALWAYS VISIT A CERTIFIED SERVICE EXPERT TECHNICIAN IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THESE SITUATIONS.
Check your Owner’s Manual for more information about wheel alignment and tire balance on your specific vehicle.