Wheel Alignment/Wheel Balancing FAQ
Q: Why is wheel alignment important?
A: It’s important because proper wheel alignment improves your vehicle’s handling, and can increase the performance and longevity of your tyres. Improper alignment will cause the steering wheel to constantly pull to one side, affect vehicle handling, strain the engine and impact gas mileage.
Q: Why is wheel balancing important?
A: Any rotating object needs to be balanced to lessen vibration. An unbalanced wheel causes a lot of vibration, which would lead to the car tyres wearing out quickly and unevenly. Furthermore, uneven tyre wear and vibrations can cause a lot of mechanical problems in the car’s suspension and steering systems.
Q: What are the signs that the car is out of alignment?
A: Have the car checked:
- After changing steering or suspension parts.
- After changing a tyre.
- After the first 2,000 miles of a new car.
- If the vehicle pulls to one side when driving in a straight line.
- If uneven wear and tear is found on any of the tyres.
- If the steering wheel vibrates.
- After a year of driving or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Q: What do I do if I notice vibration in my car?
A: Vibration is a sign that the car has a problem that needs to be looked at. Have the steering system, suspension system and tyres checked to find out what’s causing the vibration. If vibration remains untended, it can cause excessive tyre wear and mechanical problems in the car’s suspension and steering systems.
Q: What are the causes of improper wheel balancing?
A: There are several possible causes, including the following:
- Incorrect lug nut torque.
- A bent wheel rim.
- Improper mounting on the balancer.
- Vibration in the vehicle's drive train.
- The balancer needs calibration.
Q: How often should I have my wheels aligned and/or balanced?
A: You should follow your car manufacturer’s recommendation, which should be in your car manual. However, you should generally have your tyres checked at least once a year or 10,000 miles under normal driving conditions. You should also have your wheels aligned after:
- Putting new tyres on your vehicle.
- The new vehicle's mileage hits 1,864 miles.
- Changing any suspension or steering parts.
Q: What is toe?
A: Toe is the difference in distance between the rear and front of your vehicle’s tyres.
Q: What is camber?
A: Camber is the angle of the tyre when seen from the front of the car. If the top of the tyre is leaning out from the middle of the vehicle, then there is positive camber. If the top of the tyre is leaning in, then there’s negative camber. Camber is measured in degrees.
Q: What happens when there’s something wrong with the camber?
A: Here are the possible effects:
- Excessive positive camber leads to wear in the outer edge of the tyre.
- Excessive negative camber causes wear in the inner edge of the tyre.
- Different camber on either side could cause pulling to one side.
- Poor steering and handling.
- Extreme wear on the wheel bearing.