What is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment is the process of ensuring that the geometry of a vehicles steering and suspension components are correctly setup so that the vehicle travels straight and true. The correct positioning of your vehicles wheel alignment is also essential to the longevity of life of steering/suspension components and tyres.
What causes your cars wheels to become misaligned?
There are a variety of factors that can leave your vehicle in need of wheel alignment these include component wear/failure and
The correct wheel alignment settings for any particular make and model of vehicle are clearly outlined by specific vehicle manufacturers, the purpose of a steering geometry check is to set up the vehicle as close as possible to the manufacturer's guidelines.
What is Caster (negative and positive)?
Caster is the angle how far forward or back the steering axis is to the vertical axis when viewed from the side.
Negative caster is when the steering axis is forwards of the vertical axis.
Positve caster is when the steering axis to the rear of the vertical axis.
Vehicles are set with positive caster angles to promote true straight ahead feel and stronger self centre. The left and right caster should be equal in order for a vehicle to be able to travel/track in a straight line.
If the vehicle does not have enough positive caster the the vehicle steering can become twitchy at speed and the steering wheel may not return to the straight ahead position when coming out of a turn. When a vehicle has unequal caster it will manifest itself by the vehicle drifting to one side or the other, whichever direction the vehicle leads to will typically have the least amount of positive caster.
What is Camber? (negative & positive)
Camber is the vertical angle of the wheels compared to the vertical angle of the vehicle from head on.
Most vehicles will have a neutral or negative camber angle, visually this can be identified by the top of the wheel being closer to the centre of the car than the bottom.