On the Fleetio Blog, we have talked before about the various signs that your vehicle (or fleet of vehicles) needs realignment. The list of indicators provided by Tess Winningham highlighted how you can quickly detect an issue with the way your wheels/tires are set up. Today, we would like to take things a step further and show you some handy resources that can assist in finding the proper diagnosis for misalignment and even some do-it-yourself tips for those of you who are more adventurous. The end goal is to help save your fleet from unexpected downtime as well as higher fuel and tire expenses.
There are a number tools available for checking the alignment of your car or truck. Whether you are a seasoned mechanic or just want to be able to easily diagnose problems at home, there is a product out there to suit your needs and budget. Be sure to check your wheel type first, because there are a few methods that can be used to attach an alignment tool to your wheels. Some use magnets, others attach to the lip of the wheel and have screw adjustment. These are going to run you $60-300, depending on the type of vehicle, wheels, and measurements ( toe, caster, camber). With it only taking a few minutes to set up, regular use of this type of tool is a no brainer, just like checking your tire pressures.
#### Finding Your Specs
Of course once you can validate the current alignment settings of your vehicle, it is important to know what the recommended manufacturer standard is. You can check your owners manual, Google the year, make, model, and “alignment specs” or download a handy reference guide if you manage a fleet of different vehicles.
Making the Adjustments
For most of you, taking measurements and checking them against your specs will be the last step before either taking the vehicle in to see a trained mechanic or leaving your vehicle as-is (if the measurements are correct or close). But for those who wish to proceed with making the appropriate changes, here are some detailed instructions from Car and Driver Magazine on how to do your own wheel alignment.
If you are savvy enough to consider further factors (additional loading, operational environment, etc.) you can fine tune adjustments to your own additional specifications, just like the guys in NASCAR. We would, however, suggest that you only leave this to the pros.