Unfortunately, wheel alignment is a recurrent maintenance expense that must be addressed immediately to avoid premature wearing of tyres as well as a stressful driving experience. But the good news is it won’t pinch your pocket as opposed to the need to replace the whole set of tyres due to driving with poor alignment.
Gone are the days when you’d have to place a thread against the wheels to align wheels, and the accuracy would be a far cry. The advent of laser wheel alignment changes everything.
What is laser wheel alignment and how is it performed?
Laser wheel alignment makes the process simpler, faster and more accurate as compared to traditional wheel alignment methods. To perform wheel alignment, your car is first brought onto a platform and positioned against the equipment. Then the technician will attach brackets to the front wheels and will incident laser beams on each of them from an overhead projector. The aim is to adjust the front wheels in such a way that they point at accurate angles and make your car roll straight and smooth.
Wheel alignment should be done timely, lest your tyres wear out earlier than they should. Not only this, but poor wheel alignment also causes your vehicle to pull to either side, which gets dangerous at higher speeds. If you don’t want to hurt yourself or your pocket, visit your nearest Laser Wheel Alignment centre to have your wheels set up the way they should.
Components of wheel alignment
The position of the front wheels can be adjusted in relation to the suspensions, in three axes, which are termed as caster, camber and toe.
Let’s understand this through a simple analogy. All you have to do is stand with your feet a few inches apart from each other and perceive them as the front wheels of your car.
Now if you bring your toes closer while keeping the heels fixed, this is toe-in. Pointing the toes outward while keeping the heels fixed is toe-out.
Now if you shift your body weight on the inside and outside edges of your feet, you’d be changing camber.
To demonstrate the analogy for caster, you’d have to lift your heels and toes up in the air. Caster is how vertically the suspension is positioned over the wheel.
Following are the telltale signs that your car needs immediate wheel alignment:
- The steering is off-centre while your car drives in a straight line
- Your car pulls to either side even when the steering is in centre
- Evident, uneven tyre wear
- Vibrations in the steering wheel (this is, however, a sign of poor wheel balancing)
How do your wheels go off the proper alignment?
Poor wheel alignment can be a result of driving through potholes at a higher speed or hitting the kerb too often while parking your car. Any kind of jerk that your wheels receive impacts the alignment. The bigger the jerk, the higher the degree of misalignment.
Wheel misalignment is common among newly purchased cars because the suspensions take time to bed in during the first few days as you drive. Therefore, it is recommended to get the wheel alignment checked within a week or two of driving your new car.
How much does wheel alignment cost?
The cost of 4 wheel alignment in Australia varies from one service center to another. For cars, wheel alignment starts at $50 and for larger vehicles can go up to $120. You can get a pretty good deal at some of the independent wheel alignment facility in case you find franchise service centers expensive.