Have you ever taken your vehicle to a repair shop for new tires, to fix a flat, or even for a basic oil change, and the person at the front desk also strongly recommended an alignment? Why is that? Are alignments really necessary? What do they do for my day to day experience of driving my car? We’re glad you asked. A properly aligned suspension and wheels can prolong tire life, correct annoying speed vibrations, improve gas mileage, reduce the likelihood of dangerous blowouts, and keep your steering wheel centered like it should be. If any of those sound like something you’re missing from your life currently, we can help! Our certified expert technicians at The Quiet Zone Bantam will set you literally back in the right direction with our alignment services. All makes and models accepted!
Toe, Camber, and Caster
What do those words mean? More importantly, how do they work together within my vehicle’s alignment, suspension, and tires?
Let’s start with Toe. If you are looking down at the top of your car from above, toe is a term that refers to whether the front of your wheels are pointing outwards, or inwards—towards the middle of the car. These are called ‘toe out’, and ‘toe in’, respectively. Vehicles require just the right amount of tow in, and every vehicle is different. This is because as you accelerate, the front of your wheels naturally get pushed outward while the back of the wheels are pushed towards the middle of your car. Too much toe in, however, and your wheels will wear too quickly on the outside tread, not enough and the tires will wear too quickly on the inside tread.
Camber is the upright angle of the wheels, top to bottom, if you are looking at the front or back of a car. You may have seen a customized car that looks kind of like something squashed the top of it, which resulted in a large amount of what is called ‘negative camber’ in the wheels. Just the right amount of negative camber can improve handling, while too much can excessively wear the tires.
Caster is the angle at between the center of the upper and lower ball joints. In order to visualize this, think of a motorcycle with the front wheel way out in front of it. This is an example of extreme positive caster. Most vehicles use a small, but very deliberate amount of positive caster in order to cancel out the force exerted when accelerating. When your caster is off, you may notice your vehicle pulling to one side or the other.
Contact Us Today!
Come see us our location at 738 Bantam Rd. for all your alignment and drivability needs. Our expert technicians will quickly and accurately diagnose your alignment issues using our state-of-the-art equipment and get you back on the road ASAP! Give us a call or send in a web form today!