Wheel Alignment FAQ
Aligning your wheels can improve fuel economy and reduce tyre wear
Very!! Research indicates that the average car is driven about 12,000 miles per year. A car with toe alignment just 0.34 degrees (Just 0.17 inches) out of specification has dragged its tyres sideways for more than 68 miles by the end of the year!
You should have your car checked:
- If excessive or uneven tyre wear is found
- If there is a feeling of looseness or wandering
- If there is steering wheel vibration
- After 10,000 miles or one year of driving
- If your vehicle pulls to the left or right whilst driving straight
- If you need to hold on to the steering wheel to drive straight
- If you need to keep the steering wheel unlevel to drive straight
- After changing a set of tyres
- After a change of suspension or steering parts
- After the first 2,000 miles of driving a new car
Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation noted in your owner’s manual. But, as a general rule, have your vehicle’s tyres checked every 10,000 miles or at least once a year.
Tracking is an across the axle check of total toe. With the tracking gauges touching the edge of the wheel rim the operator peers through a ‘scope’ or views a light/laser beam on a scale. With no allowance for run out compensation the reading taken will at best be approximate. So for tracking – we have one angle measured approximately.
Four Wheel Alignment will give a minimum of 12 angles measured, all referenced to the car wheel centre-line and displaying these alignment angles and comparing them to the factory alignment data. Allowance is made for wheel rim run-out. We have accurate repeatable reading that will allow the full picture of how the vehicle drives and whether undue tyre wear will occur. Adjustment would involve the steering wheel being set straight and adjusting the individual toe to maintain a straight steering wheel while the car is driven.
On a modern car tracking alone is not sufficient. Camber | Caster | Toe | Thrust Angle | Setback must all be measured.
The first way forward on any car is to capture the current measurements for all the alignment angles – this will then give the complete answer and lead to the necessary diagnosis and subsequent adjustments. However as a general rule excessive toe-out will lead to premature inside edge wear – this will generally show on both tyres on that axle. The steering wheel not being straight is most likely caused by more adjustment having been made on one trackrod than the other – This ‘fault’ is common when tracking alone has been done.
A 4 Wheel Laser Alignment Service is £50-£130. This includes all adjustable front/rear end settings to within manufacturers range. If your vehicle is only front end adjustable then it will be cheaper, however if your car is front and rear end adjustable it will take more time and therefore be slightly more expensive. Our average cost for the most common German cars requiring full front and rear adjustment is £95.
Additional charges may be applied when suspension components are seized and require work to free up and make adjustable.
New or old tyres fitted will make little difference to the alignment readings. They will however have a big effect on the way the car feels to drive (even after the alignment has been corrected). Where there was a high degree of misalignment and hence tyre wear present it would be recommended to have new tyres fitted at the time of the alignment adjustments are made.
We have the latest digital alignment equipment that equals the specifications for the dealership network. With this comes all the relevant factory specifications for all cars.