When a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving can cause your wheels to be out of alignment. This can lead to expensive premature tire and suspension wear.
Here are some alignment basics:
The first angle is called toe: do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next angle is called camber: do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.
The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers. Alignment service starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent, broken or worn out. Then the technician will look at tire condition.
From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to manufacturer’s specifications.
Your owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.