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What is wheel alignment? Why is it important?

wheel alignment illustration - wheel alignment being carried out at Tyres Northampton

Wheel alignment, sometimes known as ‘tracking’, is an essential part of car maintenance that can only be performed by a professional mechanic with specialist equipment.

What Causes a Car Wheel to Become Misalignment?

Wheel misalignment happens where the tyres sit on the wheels rims at an suboptimal angle. Wheel misalignment can be a result of driving over large potholes or hitting kerbs at speed.

Does Improper Wheel Alignment Affect Vehicle Safety?

Misalignment can cause your tyres to wear unevenly and affect road handling. If you notice abnormal tyre wear, drag or the vehicle pulling to one side, steering wheel vibration or squealing noises at low speeds, it could be poor tyre alignment.

How does Wheel Alignment Work?

wheel alignment device - wheel alignment being carried out at Tyres Northampton

To align the wheels, a camera unit is attached to a clamp that holds onto one of the car’s wheels. Typically there are four camera units, one on each wheel. Each camera communicates its physical location with regards to the wheels and their alignment. This is fed into a diagnostics computer and from there a professional tyre fitter can correctly re-align the wheels. Tyre alignment for everyday use is done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations for your particular vehicle. This is because various suspension systems and wheel setups have various combinations of handling characteristics. Therefore, each model of vehicle will have different optimal wheel alignments.

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