An alignment measures the suspension angles and components of your vehicle, and makes adjustments to ensure optimal steering and handling. The most common proplem caused by an improper wheel alignment is premature tire wear. Common symptoms include a crooked steering wheel, vehicle pulling toward one side while driving, and uneven tire wear.
What does an alignment adjust?
Caster: The Caster angle of your wheels is the angle created by the steering's pivot point from the front of the vehicle to the back of the vehicle, as viewed from the side of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the angle points forward, and negative if the angle points backward. Caster is different on every vehicle and is selected by the manufactuer based on what balance of steering effort, high speed stability, and front end cornering effectiveness the manufacturer wants the vehicle to have. If the camber is increased positively, steering effort will be increased and straight line tracking will be improved, as well as improving the vehicle's high speed stability and providing more effective cornering. When cornering, positive caster will make the tire lean more as the steering angle increases.
Camber: The Camber angle determines the angle the tires slant away from the vertical when viewed directly from the front or the back of the vehicle. Wheels that are directly perpendicular to the road surface have a camber of 0 degrees. When the tops of the tires tilt towards the fender walls, camber is negative, and when the tire tops tilt away from the vehicle, camber is negative.
Toe: The Toe angle measures the exact direction the tires are pointed versus the centerline of the vehicle as viewed from directly above. An axle has a positive toe (toe-in) when the toes point towards one another, and a negative toe (toe out) when the toes point away from one another. The vehicle's toe setting is one of the most important alignment settings when it comes to tire wear. Misadjusted toe settings cause faster tire deterioration and negatively impact handling.
Thrust Angle: The thrust angle is an imaginary line drawn perpendicular to the centerline of the rear axle. A Vehicle's thrust angle affects the position of the steering wheel. If the thrust line does not run parallel to the vehicle's geometric centerline, the steering wheel position will be off and the vehicle will pull to the right or the left.
If you find your vehicle is not driving in a straight line unless you increase your steering effort, you may need an alignment! Don't hesitate to reach out to us at Bustard Chrysler in Waterloo for your wheel alignment needs!
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Bustard Chrysler Waterloo is located in Waterloo, Ontario and also serves Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, Hamilton, Elmira, Milton, Burlington, St. Catharines and all of Southwestern Ontario.