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Tracking: What Is Wheel Alignment Exactly?

Wheel alignment is incredibly important for your car to function properly. It’s a vital part of keeping your car running smoothly, for a number of reasons. It’s one of the main ways you can ensure your tires last as long as possible, for one thing. Tires are expensive, so you want to make sure that they last as long as possible.

Wheel alignment is also important for comfortability. Having misaligned tires can lead to your suspension not functioning properly. If you want a smooth, comfortable ride, you need to seek out a wheel alignment service from time to time.

But what is wheel alignment, exactly? Let’s find out!

What Is Wheel Alignment?

The answer to “What is wheel alignment?” is not as straightforward as it might seem. That’s because it doesn’t just have to do with your tires. It’s more like an alignment of your car’s entire suspension system.

During a wheel alignment, a car is mounted onto clamp-like devices and is then suspended. The clamps feature detailed sensors that are hooked to a diagnostic machine, which makes detailed measurements. During this examination, the mechanic will also check to make sure that the other components of the suspension system aren’t worn or damaged.

The actual alignment part of the process is making sure that your car’s tires and axles are squared and true. The mechanic will also check the angles of suspension – which are known as toe, thrust, camber, and caster – that influence tire movement. They’ll also make sure that the steering column is centered.

The details of the alignment depend on your car’s driving style. A four-wheel drive requires a four-wheel alignment, as does a front-wheel-drive with an adjustable or independent rear suspension. For a four-wheel alignment, both axles need to be aligned so that all four wheels form a rectangle and are perfectly perpendicular to the ground.

Front-wheel drive vehicles that don’t have independent suspension in the rear will likely only require a front-end alignment. This is also sometimes known as a thrust-angle alignment. Thrust-angle refers to the direction your tires point in relation to the car’s center. In a thrust-angle alignment, the rear wheels are straightened to be parallel with the front axle and perpendicular to the car’s center.

How To Tell If You Need A Tire Alignment

Your vehicle pulling to one side or the other is the surest sign that you’re in need of a wheel alignment service. It’s also one of the best reasons to get one, as it’s not only inconvenient and irritating, but it can even be dangerous.

Uneven wear and tear on your car’s tires are another sign that it’s time for a car wheel alignment. Finally, your car steering acting up or not working as effectively as it should is a sign you should consult with a trained suspension specialist as soon as possible.

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Your car is your lifeline to the world. It’s how we get to work and play. Your car opens up the world like nothing else.

Whether you’re wondering “What is wheel alignment?” or needing to get your brakes checked, contact us today to let us help you keep your car running in tip-top shape!