Wheel alignment, sometimes referred to as breaking or tracking, is part of standard automobile maintenance that consists of adjusting the angles of wheels so that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. The meaning of wheel alignment can often be confused, as the term is misleading.
Rather than referring to your car’s wheels, wheel alignment is related to the suspension. Disruptions to the car’s suspension can cause some components to be knocked off-kilter, causing the wheels to sit at improper angles. Wheel alignment ensures that the wheels are set straight again, avoiding further problems to the vehicle.
There are three main causes of wheel misalignment, these are:
1. Sudden jarring or heavy impact caused by hitting something, such as a pothole, bumping a curb, or a road accident.
2. Worn parts caused by wear and tear. Over time, parts such as suspension springs can become worn and slack, leading to a shift in the wheel alignment. In this case, prevention is more effective than cure; so regular service checks are necessary.
3. Height modification, when suspension has not been changed to suit. Car suspension is designed to work at a certain height, and if you adjust the height of your vehicle without also adjusting the suspension, your car will probably suffer from wheel misalignment.
Common signs of wheel misalignment are as follows:
• Tyres wearing abnormally/unevenly
• Car drifts to one side when driving
• Steering wheel does not return easily after a turn
• Steering wheel is crooked or vibrates
• There is a squealing noise coming from your tyres