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Wheel Alignment Explained

By Expert Author: Shad Cartagena

Correct wheel alignment in Worcester helps to prolong the life of a carís tyres and also to maintain suspension and reduce wear and tear on suspension components. There are several adjustments that can be made to the wheel alignment which can produce better road handling or increased tyre life, and although these things are not mutually exclusive, there is a trade-off between the two.

There are four main aspects to Wheel Alignment in Worcester: camber, caster, toe and thrust angle which will be briefly explained here. Camber is the angle of the wheel in relation to a flat road surface. Camber measurements start at zero degrees where the tyre is at an exact right angle to the road surface and the maximum amount of tread is in contact with the road. Camber set at this angle will prolong tyre life and help with straight line fuel efficiency. A positive degree of camber would result in tyres that at the top lean out and away from the car. A negative degree of camber results in tyres that at the top lean in and closer to the car. Both positive and negative camber will result in uneven tyre wear. This kind of tyre wear can also be indicative of structural wear or faults in the suspension an should be inspected by a reputable garage.

Caster is the angle that the tyre is attached to the steering pivot and should be set at zero degrees, or at 90 degrees to a flat road surface. If the caster has a negative value it means that the pivot is positioned in front of the wheel this will result in light steering and the possibility that the car will drift. If the caster has a positive value then the pivot is positioned behind the wheel then steering will be heavy. Uneven caster will result in the car pulling to one side or the other.

Toe angle is the angle of the front wheel in relation to the car. Toe angle should be set at zero degrees where the wheel is on the same axis as the car. Both positive and negative toe will result in wear to the tyres, although often manufacturers will set the toe angle slightly positive (for rear wheel drive vehicles) or slightly negative (for front wheel drive vehicles) to compensate for suspension movement. Under steer and over steer can also be corrected by adjusting the toe angle.

The thrust angle is the angle of the rear wheels in relation to the car. Thrust angle should be at zero degrees where the wheels are on the same axis as the car. Negative and positive thrust angle will result in the car crabbing and trying to move sideways from the rear wheel. Out of alignment thrust angles can point to a car that has been in a collision and has a bent chassis and will result in tyre and suspension wear. A car that crabs should be inspected by a reputable garage.

AMS Garages offers infrared 4 wheel computerised alignment, tracking and adjustment for all makes and models. Our wheel alignment service will help to prolong the life of your carís tyres, improve the way your car handles and give you better miles per gallon.

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