Most drivers know that they need to regularly check their car’s wheel alignment and, if necessary, have the wheels aligned back to the manufacturer’s specifications. This is not to be confused with having your tires balanced. Alignment problems lead to tracking and steering problems as well as faster tread wear while balancing problems result in vibrations at higher speeds. If the wheels are ready to be replaced, it’s easy enough to find replacements somewhere like this page, but often it’s just a simple alignment problem that can be easily fixed.
When doing regular car maintenance, it is important to make sure that the tires are checked for both balance and alignment. Each tire should be aligned to the specifications of the manufacturer to ensure proper car handling and increase the life of the tire. There are some occasions when drivers will ask that the wheels be aligned outside of those specifications. This is done to achieve a specific type of handling for the vehicle, for things like off-road or racing situations. Only experts should make these types of requests. The vast majority of drivers are safest having their wheels aligned to the standard angles.
The mechanic will use a specially mounted camera unit that connects to a central computer and calculates the three main measurement of wheel alignment: camber, caster, and toe. Once they know how much each measurement is off, the mechanic can using alignment equipment to reposition the tires.
Armed with a little research on wheel alignment any car owner can feel confident talking about it with their mechanic and will know how to tell if their car is properly aligned.
To learn about the basics of wheel alignment for custom cars, check out this video: