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Wheel alignment

What is wheel alignment?

Wheel alignment is the alignment of your wheels in connection to your car’s suspension. This is very important because it ensures your vehicle is safe to drive. It will allow you to drive straight in the direction where your steering wheel is pointing to. 

Your vehicle will eventually suffer from wear and tear. This may turn your wheel alignment off. 

Do not gamble the safety of you and your loved ones. These are the signs that indicate your vehicle is due for wheel alignment.  

Your vehicle drags you to one side. If your steering wheel is pointing straight ahead of you but your vehicle tends to drag to either the left or right side, this is a definite sign that your vehicle’s wheel alignment is not functioning as it should be. 

If the dragging action is not very notable, your vehicle may be suffering from a minor case of wheel misalignment. You may even think that the road is curved because your vehicle keeps on dragging you to one side.

So that you can figure out if you have a wheel alignment issue, try to drive your vehicle on a flat and straight road. If you keep on adjusting your steering wheel just to keep your car driving straight, your wheel alignment is surely off. 

There are odd patterns on your vehicle tyres. This is a very strong indication that your wheel balancing is completely off. As long as your vehicle tyres are inflated properly and rotating regularly, the wear pattern on your vehicle tyres should be uniform or constant. If this pattern is present, you need to correct your wheel alignment as soon as possible.

Your steering wheel is not centred. Normally, your steering wheel is centred when you are driving along a straight and flat road. If your wheel alignment is incorrect, your steering wheel may partially swing to the left or right even if your vehicle is travelling on a straight road. 

If you experience any of these problems, it is advisable that you head towards the nearest vehicle garage immediately. These vehicle symptoms can make your driving experience a dangerous one, especially if it drags you to one side of the vehicle. 

Incessantly making steering adjustments is very risky, especially if you are an inexperienced driver. Aside from exposing you and your loved ones to danger, incorrect wheel alignment will also let you encounter a surge in fuel consumption.

WHAT CAUSES THE WHEEL ALIGNMENT TO GO OFF?

There are many factors that contribute to the formation of this problem. One of the most common causes of wheel misalignment is experiencing quick and sudden impact such as driving over a deep pothole or hitting a curb. 

As we have mentioned earlier, you will know that your wheels are not aligned because your vehicle tends to drag you on one side or your vehicle tyres are already worn down earlier than expected. 

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF INCORRECT WHEEL ALIGNMENT ON YOUR VEHICLE OR DRIVING?

An incorrect wheel alignment will affect your driving performance. 

  • Steered axles - incorrect toe-in/toe-out

If ever your toe settings are out of balance, this may cause: 

  • Fuel consumption increases by up to 4.5%
  • Increased rolling resistance
  • Irregular tyre wear on the inner or outer shoulders
  • Longer braking distances
  • Poor steering quality

An incorrect wheel alignment will also lead your trailer axles to be out of square. This issue will require you to constantly make adjustments on the steering wheel and take extra adjustments on the road width that your vehicle will be taking.

 Out of square axles will cause:

  • Fuel consumption increases up to 18.5%
  • Increased driver fatigue
  • Increased mechanical wear and tear on the suspension
  • Increased rolling resistance
  • Irregular tyre wear on the inner or outer shoulders

HOW DOES THE WHEEL ALIGNMENT LOOK? 

This process starts by making sure that there is no bush or joint play. The vehicle tyre pressures are set to the right values to ensure the vehicle is sitting at the proper level. The targets are then fixed on each wheel. 

As soon as all the customer details and vehicles specifications are loaded, the vehicle is shifted to a quarter of a turn. The alignment results, toes and camber angles will be collected. The caster measurement will also be taken by swinging the steering wheel to the left and right. As soon as all the required measurements have been collected, the vehicle will be made ready for adjustment.

Aligning the wheels of commercial vehicles is very important. Having the proper alignment will ensure that the commercial vehicle will suffer no drag, which causes premature bush and joint wear and a surge in fuel consumption.

Whether you have a fleet of commercial vehicles or just a single one, make sure that your wheels are properly aligned will help you save money on running costs in the long run. 

When it comes to new vehicles, ADAS calibrations should be accomplished. ADAS stands for advanced driver assistance systems. These are features that are designed to keep the driver and passengers safe. When a vehicle with ADAS has undergone an adjustment of the wheel alignment, the radar and camera systems should be recalibrated as well. 

Some vehicles are capable of automatically recalibrating themselves (dynamic calibration). Other vehicles may have to be recalibrated manually (static calibration).

Imperial Tyres have over 30 years of experience in the wheel alignment industry, servicing all the main vehicle agents and body repair shops in and around Swindon. We pride ourselves on the service we give when carrying out wheel alignment on customers' vehicles.

Using the very best in technology by using the Hunter Alignment System, allows us to measure the vehicle accuratelyThis enables them to re-calibrate a car’s ADAS system after wheel alignment to ensure vehicle safety systems are working as they should be.

If you have any questions about wheel alignment, give Imperial Tyres a call on 01793 531990!