Wheel Alignment

Wheel Alignment – it’s important!

London’s roads are not car friendly…your every day journey to work, school or shopping means that you have to travel on those roads. As a result your car will experience bumps, cracks, potholes and speed humps, all of which causes wear and tear to your tyres, suspension and the correct alignment of your wheels.

You should have your wheel alignment checked if any of your suspension or steering components have been changed or you are experiencing uneven tyre wear, pulling to the left or right, off centre steering wheel or poor handling.

An alignment isn’t just something to have done when you experience a problem or had a modification. Routine alignments (eg at the time of a service) can transform the handling and drivability of your car. We offer free alignment checks using the latest Hunter alignment equipment, checks only take around 20 minutes.


Pricing

We can save you upto 50% on the dealer price of the recommended alignment!

Professional Wheel Alignment: from £60+vat

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.


Reduced Tyre Wear

Improper alignment is a major cause of premature tyre wear. Over the years, a properly aligned vehicle can add thousands of miles to tyre life.

Better Miles Per Gallon

MPG increases as rolling resistance decreases. Total alignment sets all four wheel parallel which, along with proper inflation, minimizes rolling resistance.

Improved Handling

Does your car pull to one side? Does the steering wheel vibrate? Do you constantly have to move the steering wheel to keep your car traveling straight ahead? Many handling problems can be corrected by total alignment. With all the system components aligned properly, road shock is more efficiently absorbed for a smoother ride.

Why choose us?

  • We have the latest Hunter alignment equipment to realign your vehicle back to manufacturer specification
  • Our alignment ramp is perfectly level and independently calibrated yearly to guarantee perfect results
  • We have manufacturer online alignment figures for all vehicles
  • Customer waiting area and watch your car on the big screen being expertly aligned
  • Results are recorded before alignment (to identify correction required) and after (to confirm successful alignment)
  • We can, if requested, email you a copy of the results for your own records
  • Replacement suspension parts can be replaced, if a component problem is identified[
  • We can offer alignment for all cars including performance cars

There is a demonstrable difference between basic tracking checks carried out by high street tyre outlets and full specialist 4 wheel camera alignment/geometry adjustment. In short, we can save you money on tyres (remember how much they can cost!) and keep your vehicle safe on the road.

Wheel Alignment FAQ

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:

  • 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 keep the steering wheel unlevel 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.

Wheel Alignment – Glossary

An explanation of the different alignment angles can be found by clicking on the following tabs:

What is Camber?

Camber increases or decreases the tyre’s grip on the road by the wheel not being upright, when viewed from the front or rear. Correct camber is a design requirement and incorrectly set at best will cause tyre wear but at worse could seriously compromise the overall handling characteristics of the car – even making it dangerous.

Sign definition
  • Positive camber is when the top of the wheel leans away from the car.
  • Negative camber is when the top of the wheel leans towards the car.
  • Zero camber is therefore when the wheel is fully upright.
Cross Camber

Often overlooked and often resulting in vehicle pull. Cross camber is the difference in camber from one side to the other, if each wheel is itself correctly in tolerance, but at opposite ends of the scale, then the cross camber will be high and might need attention. Some manufactures now specify this value. The car will tend, as a general rule, to pull to the side with the least negative or most positive camber.

What is Caster?

Caster is the forward or rearward tilt of the steering axis, in reference to the vertical when viewed from the vehicle side. Positive caster is where the steering axis is sloped towards the rear. Negative caster (not common) is where the steering axis is sloped towards the front.

Why?

High positive caster makes the steering heavier but results in the car remaining better in a straight line at speed. Shopping cars, Renault 5, Ford Fiesta, etc have caster values close to zero. BMW 7 series or Mercedes 500 have high positive caster to assist in keeping straight on the autobahn!

Cross Caster

Cross caster is a difference in caster from side to side. As a rule of thumb a car will steer toward the side with the least caster.

Sign convention
  • Positive Toe is the leading edge of the wheels closer together.
  • Negative Toe is the leading edge of the wheels further apart.

Our advice would be not to refer to toe as toe-in. For example negative toe-in is toe out! Better to simply say the car has negative toe or is toed out.

Individual Toe

Individual toe is measured from the vehicle centre line. If a total toe figure is given divide it and its tolerance by two to gain the individual value. Individual toe can be thought of as a per wheel value i.e.

  • Total toe + 0deg 30min tol. +/- 0deg 15min
  • Individual toe + 0deg 15min tol. +/- 0deg 7.5min
Units of measurement

Toe can be measured in mm or degrees and minutes. A common mistake is to simply state a toe value, i.e. Ford Sierra +2mm. However there are various worldwide conventions as to where this is measured. For Europe the norm is to measure at the edge of the wheel rim and hence a diameter of the rim must be specified. So to correctly specify the toe for the Ford Sierra it should be stated as +2mm for a 14″ rim.

The problem is that fitting different size wheels would result in a different toe figure being required! The solution is to always measure and record the toe as degrees and minutes. (Or decimal degrees if you prefer). This value is irrespective of wheel rim size fitted and is less liable to error.

Thrust Angle

Thrust angle (other than zero) occurs when the individual rear toe values are unequal. The easiest example to imagine is for a car with a live rear axle (one piece) that has the axle fitted crocked in the body such that one rear wheel has toe-in and the other one has toe-out.

Thrust line is an angle of the resultant drive direction compared to the vehicle centreline. Cars driven with high thrust angles may appear to ‘crab’. On cars, which have independent suspension, some are individually adjustable for toe, which can then be used to correct both the toe-in and thrust line together. Thrust angle should where possible always be adjusted to zero, to coincide with the vehicle centreline.

Sign definition
  • A positive thrust angle is one that points to the left.
  • A negative thrust line is one that points to the right.
Straight steering wheel

Errors in the steering wheel being straight on road test can be the rear toe being wrong and a high thrustline. (As well as the front track-rods being adjusted un-equally or steering wheel having been fitted incorrectly). Computerised aligners measure and record the thrustline and at the adjustment stage will set the steering wheel level allowing for any thrust angle. It is for this reason that the adjustment step on all aligners takes you first through rear toe adjust, to give you the opportunity of reducing the thrust angle as far as possible, before moving on and adjusting the front toe and steering wheel.

Setback

Setback is the relative positions of the two wheels on an axle. Setback can be given in mm or as an angle i.e. degrees and minutes.

Sign convention
  • Negative setback is the right wheel back (relative to the left)
  • Positive setback is the left wheel back (relative to the right)
Which Wheel

Setback will not tell you which wheel is in the correct position only the relative position. So is that wheel forward or the other wheel back? Measuring wheelbase or caster can help.

Tolerances

Interestingly very few manufactures give a tolerance, so the value should be used as a guide in that if you measure a high set back, there may then be something else which will measure out side the tolerance. One example of this would be the caster angle. If one front wheel has been knocked back giving it high set back then the caster angle would also measure low, possibly even out of tolerance on this side.

Book a service

We can save you upto 50% on the dealer price of the recommended alignment!

 Other services 

Services we offer

We also offer a wide range of individual and specialist services.

Scroll to Top