What Is It?
Your vehicle’s wheel alignment plays a big role in the performance and quality of your driving experience. With properly aligned tires, your vehicle will have better handling and your tires will last a lot longer. Along with that, you’ll also be able to avoid steering wheel vibrations and your vehicle pulling in one direction, which can be dangerous when driving at high speeds.
So, how does Auto Stop Elite approach wheel alignment? Well, what many people may not know is that we’re not actually working with your tires or wheels. We actually focus on your vehicle’s suspension, as that is responsible for your vehicle’s overall alignment. Our team of Master ASE Certified technicians will work on three components -- the camber, toe, and caster.
The Camber is the measure, in degrees, of the difference between the wheel’s vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface. Camber is described as negative when the top of the wheel tilts inwards and positive when it tilts outward. The real advantage to negative camber is its handling characteristics, however it can increase tire wear.
The Toe is the most important angle related to tire wear and is the angle at which the wheels are positioned or steered.
The Caster is the angle created by the steering’s pivot point from the front to the back of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the line is angled forward and negative if its angled backwards. Positive caster will make the vehicle feel more stable at higher speeds and is extremely important in lifted vehicles.
All three of these angles are important, but what is most important is how they all work together to get you the most life out of your tires, most stability at highway speeds, and the longest life out of steering and suspension components.
Do I Need It?
The short answer is yes. In order for you to maximize your vehicle’s performance and avoid any significant damage, you’ll need a proper wheel alignment. Misalignment can cause a number of different issues which include lowered fuel efficiency, uneven tire wear, and accelerated wear of the camber, heel, and toe. With that said, there are a few signs that will indicate when your vehicle is misaligned.
Uneven Tire Wear
Ideally, you want the front two and back two tires to have matching wear patterns. If the wear pattern doesn’t match, then that can be a sign of wheel misalignment. Make sure to inspect your tire tread patterns as well, as it can be another indication of misalignment.
A typical reason for vibrations is that the tires are actually working against each other when you drive (ex. The toe of your tires are facing inwards). The vibrating can become severe if left unattended, especially when you’re driving at higher speeds.
Minor or Aggressive Pulling
Pulling means that your vehicle starts drifting one way or the other while driving. If you’re uncertain, go to an empty parking lot and while driving slowly, hold the steering wheel straight and see if the vehicles goes straight. If you notice your vehicle pulling left or right instead, then you’re dealing with pulling.
Additionally, make sure to check your tires PSI level as poorly inflated tires may be another reason for pulling.
Book Your Visit With Us Today!
In order for you to have the best driving experience, you need a proper wheel alignment. It’s as simple as that. Nothing is more frustrating than having to slow down your vehicle because of aggressive pulling or vibrating. If you encounter these or any other problems, make sure to call Auto Stop Elite. Our Master ASE Certified technicians have the precision and expertise to realign your vehicle and get you back on the road. Give us a call at 571-313-1122 and schedule an appointment with us today! Just ran over a pothole? No problem. Visit our shop at 21563 Cascades Parkway! We accept walk-ins!*
*Walk-in availability determined by daily schedule.