Have you found your car veering off to one side when driving? If so, you could well be encountering a wheel alignment issue. Our independent garage in Cheltenham will check the balancing and tracking every time you bring your vehicle in for a tyre change, service or MOT.
What is the importance of wheel alignment?
The wheel alignment of your car has a big impact on the lifespan of your tires. Bad alignment can cause your tyres to lean into one another which will cause abnormal wearing to the tread.
Your car will also have to work much harder than normal, which can lead to burning more fuel, damaging your suspension and hampering your steering.
How can you tell if you need a wheel alignment?
The first sign that something is wrong with your wheel alignment is usually a pulling to one side when you are driving. Abnormal wearing on one side of your tires is also another common indication. Let’s take a quick look at the main symptoms you can look out for:
Wobbling Steering Wheel
If you find your steering wheel wobbling or your car shaking it can indicate bad wheel alignment. However, car shaking could also be due to a number of reasons, from worn or faulty parts to tyre imbalance. Tyre balancing differs from wheel alignment, it equalises the weight in the wheels as they spin.
Car Pulls To One Side
This is commonly the first sign a driver will notice. While slight drifting or pulling to the side is quite normal due to the surface of the roads, your steering should feel easy. If you are needing to steer with more correction than usual to keep your car driving straight then it may be a wheel alignment issue.
Abnormal Tyre Wear
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the wear of your tyres as it provides an indication of the overall health of your car. If you notice harsh wearing to one side of your tyre, focused only on the inside or the outside, it can indicate that the weight is being unevenly distributed through your car. Excessive wearing on the outside edge of the tyre and a tilt at the top often indicates an alignment issue.
Steering Wheel is Off Centre
Another indication of issues with wheel alignment is the position of your steering wheel. Your steering wheel should sit centrally when you are driving straight if you notice it sitting off-centre than wheel alignment could be the problem.
How often should you get a wheel alignment?
Manufacturers usually recommend that you have your wheel alignment checked every 6 months or 7,000 miles.
Every time you hit a pothole in the road there is a risk of damage to your suspension, which can then lead to misalignment of your wheels. It is best to check your alignment anytime this happens.
When your wheel alignment has been corrected your car will feel much more pleasant to drive, safer on the road and will likely improve your fuel consumption.
The Jargon Explained
There a variety of way that your wheel alignment can be measured and corrected. Let’s take a look at some of the jargon used:
The caster angle helps balance steering, stability and cornering. The caster angle is viewed from the side of your vehicle. If the wheel tilts towards the driver you have a positive caster, and a tilt towards the front of your vehicle is a negative caster.
The camber is the angle between the top of the wheel and the road when the car is viewed from the front. If the wheels are tilting inward they have a negative camber value, and if the wheels are tilting outwards they have a positive camber value.
The Toe measures whether the front of the wheel turns inwards or outwards when viewed from above. The toe should be set as close to zero as possible and if it is incorrect can make your vehicle unstable to drive.
If you think you might have an issue with your wheel alignment, or you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed we will be happy to help. Our independent Land Rover garage in Cheltenham offers a full 4-wheel alignment service, checking the vehicle over for any mechanical concerns that you may not be aware of, so why not book your car in for servicing and MOT now?