The importance of wheel alignments
Wheel alignment is one of those important but often-neglected regular maintenance items. The term is a bit misleading though, as it's about measuring and setting the car’s steering and suspension geometry rather than aligning wheels.
The aim is to:
- set the car’s steering and suspension geometry to ensure maximum tyre contact with the road under actual driving conditions
- obtain maximum tyre life
- ensure the car will track straight rather than wandering or pulling to one side
The angles are set with the car stationery, making allowance for the natural geometry changes that can be expected to occur when the car is in motion.
Incorrect alignment can result in:
- excessive or uneven tyre wear
- compromised handling
- reduced directional stability
- increased fuel use
Your car may need realignment if:
- the steering wheel spokes are not centred
- tyres are wearing unevenly
- you have hit large potholes or kerbs (particularly if the position of the steering wheel spokes has changed as a result)
- the steering pulls to one side
To ensure maximum tyre life, alignment should also be reset after steering or suspension repairs and when tyres are renewed.