Things to Know About My Car's Alignment

Car Alignment Tips and things to look for

 

Your Car's Alignment: What to Look For

 

Your car’s alignment is critical to both your safety and to the wear of your tires, and for those living in Bloomington, IL, there’s no such thing as too much preventive care for your wheels and tires. There are three main components to a proper alignment, and we describe them below:

 

Toe

 

A car’s toe angle refers to the direction each tire is pointed compared to the centerline of the vehicle when viewed from directly above. There are two classifications of toe: toe-in (similar to a “pigeon-toed” person) and toe-out (feet angled outward).

 

Increased toe-in will typically result in reduced oversteer, help steady the car and enhance high-speed stability.

 

Increased toe-out will typically result in reduced understeer, helping free up the car, especially during initial turn-in while entering a corner.

 

Incorrect toe can cause a “wandering” or “pulling” feeling when driving.  An incorrect toe-in will cause rapid tire wear to both tires equally.

 

Camber

 

A car’s camber angle is the measure in degrees of the difference between the wheels vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface.

 

Positive camber is when the top of the tires tilt away from the vehicle. Negative camber is when the top of the tires tilt inward toward the fender wells. Zero camber will result in more even tire wear over time, but may rob performance during cornering.

 

 If the camber is out of adjustment, it will cause tire wear on one side of the tire's tread. If the camber is too far negative, for instance, then the tire will wear on the inside of the tread.

 

Improper camber settings can cause the car to pull from side to side. In general, the vehicle will pull to the side with the more positive camber.

 

Caster

 

A car’s caster angle is a bit more difficult to describe and visualize, but we define it as the angle created by the steerings pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle.

 

Positive caster will make the vehicle more stable at high speeds, and will increase tire lean when cornering. This can also increase steering effort as well. Negative caster will do the opposite.

 

An improper caster setting can cause problems in straight line tracking. If the caster is different from side to side, the vehicle will pull to the side with the less positive caster. An overly negative caster setting will cause the steering to be light and the vehicle to wander and be difficult to keep in a straight line. An overly positive caster setting will cause the steering to be heavy and the steering wheel may jerk when you hit a bump.

 

If Something Seems Wrong With My Car’s Alignment, How Should I Proceed?

 

Depending on the issue, you may need to schedule an appointment with your local mechanic at Bob Zook Auto in Bloomington, IL. Visit our contact page for information on how to do so, or give us a call!

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