WHY IS WHEEL ALIGNMENT IMPORTANT?
Proper wheel alignment is key to prolonging the life of your tires. If your vehicle is misaligned, it can cause your tires to wear unevenly, and you may experience handling problems such as pulling or abnormal vibration.
Tires and wheels are aligned and balanced at the factory to provide the longest life and best overall performance. Adjustments to wheel alignment and tire balancing are not necessary on a regular basis. Consider a wheel alignment check if there is unusual tire wear or the vehicle is significantly pulling to one side or the other.
A tire that is out of balance often affects ride quality and can shorten the life of tires, bearings, shocks, and other suspension components. If the vehicle is vibrating when driving on a smooth road, the tires and wheels may need to be rebalanced.
WHAT IS CAMBER?
Camber is the tilting of the wheels from the vertical when viewed from the front of the vehicle. When the wheels tilt outward at the top, the camber is positive. When the wheel tilts inward at the top, the camber is negative. The amount of tilt is measured in degrees from the vertical. Camber settings influence the directional control and the tire wear.
HOW DOES CAMBER AFFECT WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
- Too much positive camber will result in premature tire wear on the outside of the tire and cause excessive wear on the suspension parts.
- Too much negative camber will result in premature tire wear on the inside of the tire and cause excessive wear on the suspension parts.
- Unequal side-to-side camber of 1 degree or more will cause the vehicle to pull or lead to the side with the most positive camber.
WHAT IS CASTER?
Caster is the tilting of the uppermost point of the steering axis either forward or backward, when viewed from the side of the vehicle. A backward tilt is positive and a forward tilt is negative. Caster influences directional control of the steering but does not affect the tire wear. Caster is affected by the vehicle height, therefore it is important to keep the body at its designed height. Overloading the vehicle or a weak or sagging rear spring will affect caster. When the rear of the vehicle is lower than its designated trim height, the front suspension moves to a more positive caster. If the rear of the vehicle is higher than its designated trim height, the front suspension moves to a less positive caster.
HOW DOES CASTER AFFECT WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
With too little positive caster, steering may be touchy at high speeds and wheel returnability may be diminished when coming out of a turn.
If one wheel has more positive caster than the other, that wheel will pull toward the center of the vehicle. This condition will cause the vehicle to pull or lead to the side with the least amount of positive caster.