If you ask my wife, the old saying, a mechanic’s car is usually the last one to get fixed she’ll tell you that statement is more than true!
She has been insisting that her SUV has been pulling one way and I just can’t remember to look into it. That got me thinking about all of
you who have the same problem, but just don’t feel the need to get it looked at. Here’s a short course on the basics of wheel alignments.
I hope you find it helpful!
In its most basic form, a wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and
parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is maximum tire life and a vehicle that tracks straight and true when driving
along a straight and level road.
There are two main types of 4-wheel alignments. In each case, the technician will place an instrument on all four wheels. In the first type
the rear toe and tracking is checked, but all adjustments are made at the front wheels. This is done on vehicles that do not have adjustments
on the rear. The second type is a full 4-wheel alignment where the adjustments are first made to true up the rear alignment, then the front
is adjusted. A full 4-wheel alignment will cost more than the other type because there is more work involved.
The two really have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that steering or tracking problems.
Here are some other facts every driver should know about wheel alignments:
-A proper wheel alignment should always start and end with a test drive
-The front end and steering linkage should be checked for wear before performing an alignment
-The tires should all be in good shape with even wear patterns. If you have a tire with excessive camber wear, for instance, and you correct
the alignment problem that caused that wear, the tire will now be making only partial contact with the road.
-Pulling problems are not always related to wheel alignment. Problems with tires (especially unequal air pressure), brakes and power steering
can also be responsible. It is up to a good wheel alignment technician to determine the cause.
I hope you find this helpful and I am proud to tell you that Joe’s Slinger Service has just installed a brand new, state-of-the-art Hunter
alignment machine and we are itching to try it out. Watch for upcoming specials on alignments so you are ready for the rough winter road season!
And remember, you can stop in anytime for us to take a look at your tires for absolutely no charge. We want you and your family to be safe so
please don’t ever hesitate to stop in for our advice!