Alignment of wheels means the wheels of the car are properly aligned in the way the manufacturer had set. Over a period of time the alignment of wheels change due to use and wear and tear. So the entire process of wheel alignment is done by making sure the geometric angles of caster, camber and toe are correct.
Wrong alignment of car wheels can be identified by 3 ways
- If your cars wheels are out of alignment, your car will tend to drift or pull to one side. But this pull or drifting problem can even be caused by underinflated tyres, so make sure your tyres have the optimum pressure.
- A crooked steering wheel is also a sign of misaligned wheels.
- You can also inspect the tyre wear out. If there’s uneven wearout on the profile the tyre, which is thicker on one side and thinner on the other, there are high chances that the wheel is misaligned.
You’ll need to get the wheels aligned if you see either of the above problems in your car. Vibrations are usually due to wheel balancing problems which are caused by bent wheels or worn-out suspensions.
When you do go for a car wheel alignment, it is advisable that you get all four wheels aligned. Wheel alignment might seem like a simple process where all 4 wheels need to be directed forward, but there’s more to it. As we earlier said, the caster (inward or outward tilt of the wheels when looking from the front of the car), camber (steering input tilt front or back looking towards the side of the car) and toe (inward or outward direction of the wheels when looking from above the car) all three angles need to be set correctly. The alignments are measured electronically accurate to less than fractions of an inch. Slightest difference can change the dynamics of the cars handling.
It is recommended that you get wheel alignment done annually as the vehicle owner’s manual doesn’t usually have the alignment details or the time period. Keeping a track of this will improve the life of your cars tyres and suspension.
Here’s a brief video explaining you wheel alignment.