How Do I Know If My Car Needs An Alignment?

What is an alignment? Your vehicle’s tires are one of the most important items on your vehicle, and having your vehicle properly aligned keeps those tires in good shape and wearing evenly. If your vehicle is out of alignment for any reason, you can expect premature and uneven tire wear, poor handling, noise from the suspension components, as well as premature wearing of suspension components.

There are 3 angles used to determine the alignment on your vehicles, however, only 2 of these angles affect tire wear.

Camber – Camber angle is the angle made by the wheels of a vehicle; specifically, it is the angle between the vertical axis of the wheels used for steering and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear. It is used in the design of steering and suspension.

Toe – Negative toe, or toe out, is the front of the wheel pointing away from the centerline of the vehicle. Positive toe, or toe in, is the front of the wheel pointing towards the centerline of the vehicle. Toe can be measured in linear units, at the front or rear of the tire, or as an angular deflection.

The third alignment angle does not affect tire wear, but it does affect handling. This is Caster.

Caster – When the front suspension of a vehicle is aligned, caster is adjusted to achieve a self-centering action in the steering, which affects the vehicle’s straight-line stability.

There are many things that can cause your vehicle to come out of proper alignment. Hitting potholes, lose or broken components such at ball joints, tie rod ends, control arms, control arm bushings, and struts are just some of the items that can cause your vehicle’s alignment to be out.

Visit your local mechanic at Trinity Auto Care for an alignment check on your vehicle today!


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