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Wheel Alignments

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Auto Check Automotive is able to offer 4 wheel alignments. We are operating a state of the art John Bean 3D alignment machine, on a 110” wheelbase hoist.

We are specialists in 4 wheel drive, lifted trucks, collision related damage and problem alignments.Auto Check Automotive is known locally as The Shop to see for alignments on your Hot Rod, custom car or lifted truck.

Our talented technicians will work with you to see that your toy is set up the way you want it!

Wheel Alignment Information

What is a wheel alignment?

A wheel alignment consists of making adjustments to the wheels of your vehicle to ensure that they are perpendicular to the ground, and parallel to each other. 

Wheels that are out of alignment will affect both the lifespan of the tires, and the handling of the vehicle.  If your vehicle pulls to one side when driving on a straight and level road, you may need a wheel alignment.

 How do I know if I need a wheel alignment?

Vehicle Pull
Another indication that your wheels are out of alignment is if your vehicle continuously pulls to the left or right when you let go of the wheel.  If your vehicle is hard to keep in a straight line without constantly steering, it is also in need of an alignment.

Installation of New Parts
If you have had repairs done to your car or truck such as ball joints, tie rod ends, struts and shocks, etc. you should have an alignment done as soon as possible. Most general repair shops do not have the equipment to do this job and sometimes they fail to inform the customer that it needs to be done.

Collision Damage
If you have hit a curb, large pothole or been involved in a crash, your vehicle should be checked for suspension damage and aligned if needed.  If your car has body damage, most body shops do this as part of the repair procedure.

Tire Wear Patterns
It is a good idea to periodically check your tires for uneven wear patterns (see below).  If you notice an obvious pattern, it may be too late to correct by getting the wheels properly aligned.  Getting your vehicle checked for proper wheel alignment is the best way to prevent these wear patterns from developing.

For each tire, insert a coin into the tread at the inside, center and outside:


Overinflated Tire

a) If the tread is deeper on the edges than in the center, the tire is over inflated.

 

Underinflated Tire
b) If the tread is deeper in the center than the edges, the tire is under inflated.

 

Tire Wear from Wheel Alignment Problem
c) If the tread is deeper on one side than the other, it is time to get your alignment checked by a professional.  If the wear is significant it may be too late to even out the wear on that particular tire.

 


Tire Wear from Wheel Alignment Problem
d) Running your hand back and forth across the tread of the tire, check to see if it is uniformly smooth in both directions.  If the tread is smooth in one direction but jagged in the other  you have a “saw-tooth” wear pattern.  This is caused by a toe-in problem.  This condition causes rapid tire wear and should be corrected immediately.

 What adjustments are made when performing a wheel alignment?

There are 3 things that are checked during an alignment:

1.  Camber

Camber is the measured angle of the wheel with the driving surface.  If the top of the wheel is leaning in towards the center of the car, the wheel is said to have “negative camber”.  If it is leaning away from the center of the car it has “positive camber”.  If the camber is not at the correct angle it will cause uneven tire wear.  Negative camber will cause tire wear on the inside of the tread and positive camber will cause tire wear on the outside of the tread. If the camber is out of adjustment on both front wheels, the vehicle may pull to one side.   The pull will be towards the side with the more positive camber.

2. Caster

The front wheels of your vehicle turn on a pivot that is attached to the suspension system.  Caster is the angle of the steering pivot when viewed from the side of the vehicle.  If the top of the pivot is leaning towards the front of the car the caster is negative, if it is leaning towards the back of the car the caster is positive.  Although caster has very little effect on tire wear, if the caster on your vehicle is out of adjustment it can affect both the steering and straight line tracking.  If the caster angle is not equal on both sides, the vehicle will pull to the side with the less positive caster.  If the caster is equal on both sides, but too negative, the vehicle will have “light steering” and will be difficult to keep in a straight line and the vehicle will tend to wander.  If the caster is equal but too positive, the vehicle will have “heavy steering” and the steering wheel may kick when you hit a bump. On many front-wheel drive vehicles the caster is not adjustable.  If the caster is out of adjustment on one of these vehicles it is because something is worn or has been bent and must be repaired or replaced.

3.  Toe in

The toe measurement is the difference in measurement between the front of the tires and the back of the tires.  It is usually set close to zero, meaning the wheels are parallel to each other.  Toe-in means that the front of the wheels are closer together than the back of the wheels, and the wheels are pointing in towards each other.  Toe-out is the opposite, meaning that the back of the wheels are closer together than the front. Incorrect or excessive toe-in will cause rapid tire wear on both front tires.  This adjustment can be made on the front wheels of all cars, and on the back wheels of some.

 

Four Wheel Alignments
The most thorough type of wheel alignment is a four wheel alignment.  Many vehicles have adjustable rear alignment settings, but even vehicles that don’t have these settings can benefit from a 4 wheel alignment.  If there are any rear tracking problems identified during the analysis, they can be compensated for by making adjustments to the front wheels. There are 2 types of four wheel alignments:

a) Readings are taken on all 4 wheels of the car, but adjustments are only made on the front wheels.  This type of four wheel alignment is done on vehicles that do not have any adjustments on the rear wheels

b) Readings are taken on all 4 wheels of the car and adjustments are made on all 4 wheels.  This is known as a “full” four wheel alignment.

When the wheel alignment is complete, the car is always test driven to check that it tracks in a straight line and that the steering wheel is in the correct position with the spokes level when driving straight.  
Pulling problems can also be caused by unequal tire pressure, problems with power steering or brakes. 

 

What is wheel balancing?
A wheel is out of balance when one the wheel is heavier on one side than the other.  To correct the imbalance, the wheel is mounted on a wheel balancing machine that locates the heavy section of the wheel.  A lead weight is then attached to the opposite side of the wheel to compensate for the imbalance.  Out of balance wheels can cause any of the following issues:

a) Vibration in the steering wheel at certain highway speeds (most likely a front wheel out of balance)

b) Vibration in the seat or floorboard at certain highway speeds (most likely a back wheel out of balance

c) Scalloped or cupped wear pattern on the tires

Most high quality tires will hold their balance well and will very gradually go out of balance.

 

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