_ **Today, the team here at Fleetiois delighted to feature a guest post by Tess Winningham, CEO of Alignment Simple Solutions, LLC. She has a great product and is a formidable expert on the subject of vehicle alignment. ** _
_ Take it away, Tess! _
A car’s alignment refers to how the angles of the wheels are adjusted. When a mechanic performs an alignment, he adjusts the angle of the wheels to the manufacturer’s specification or the range allowed. Knowing when you need an alignment may not be obvious, but it is an important part of vehicle maintenance. Bad alignment can result in premature tire wear as well as steering problems.
Here are the Most Obvious Signs:
Pulling To One Side
If your car is drifting to the center of the road or towards the shoulder, then you could have an alignment problem. You may find yourself continually applying pressure to the wheel to keep the car moving straight. The reason a car pulls to one side is usually due to the camber of the wheels. Camber refers to the angle at which the wheels are lined up with the road. The slightest wrong adjustment in camber will cause the car to veer to one side or the other.
An inadequately aligned car may pull to one side because of camber, it can also have other steering problems because of caster, or the angle of the steering pivot. When viewed from the side, the caster may cause the steering pivot to lean back or forward. This makes steering in a straight line a constant battle. If it is positioned too far forward, or positive, it could make the steering jerky and too stiff.
One of the most obvious symptoms of an incorrect alignment is tire wear. When the tires are misaligned, with regard to toe-in or camber, it causes areas of the tire to be overused and results in a shorter tire life. Excessively worn out treads on the outside of a tire can mean the camber is too positive, or there is too much toe-in. Inside wear indicates the opposite alignment problem with possible negative camber and/or misaligned toe out.
Common Misconceptions on Wheel Alignment
A common misconception about poor alignment is that it causes shaking while you drive. Shaking or vibration, while driving, is often caused by a worn-out tire that is out of round, or unbalanced tires. Worn tires may initially be a result of an alignment problem, but the shaking itself is because of the condition of the tires, not the alignment itself.