Incorrect alignment can result in rapid and irregular tyre wear and can even affect the handling and safety of the vehicle.
Wheel alignment is generally affected by hitting potholes in the road or by excessive wear to steering or suspension components. Alignment of wheels and tyres to the specification required by your vehicle is an important way to guarantee a smooth ride and to get the most out of your tyres.
The direction and angle at which tyres are set are both important. Wheel alignment involves checking the direction and angle against vehicle manufacturers’ specifications and are both equally important. You may hear these described as toe in, toe out, positive camber or negative camber.
- The “Toe” refers to whether the front of the tyres across an axle are closer or further apart than the rear of the tyres. Different types of vehicles need different toe settings to allow for the way that wheels pull either towards each other or apart.
- The “Camber” is the inward or outward tilt of a tyre and is specified by the vehicle manufacturer. It can be affected by potholes in the road and needs to be checked regularly to see if any adjustment is required.
- Incorrect wheel alignment can result in rapid wearing on the edges of the tyre and could affect the handling on the vehicle and certainly mean a replacement earlier than would otherwise be required. An example reading would be 2-4-4mm or as in the image (below right) 2-1-0mm.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for unusual wear on your tyres, such as premature wear on the inside or outside shoulder, which could be caused by an incorrect camber setting.