Monday, August 1, 2016

How Does Wheel Alignment Work?

Wheel alignment is not all that physically difficult or difficult to understand - just a very specialized equipment is needed to determine the angle of inclination of the wheel. After that, it's just that all the bolts and adjust the rotation, until you get all of that in the specifications. Some get a little bit here and there can make the difference between a car that provides a predictable, reliable performance, and one that chews through tires and every drop of fuel is restored just before hitting a tree.


Camber refers to bend inward or outward of the tire. Completely vertical tire has no camber, or zero degrees camber. One which protrudes at the top has a certain degree of positive fit, while the one which tilts inwardly inclined downward. Negative camber helps keep your tires planted at the turn, but reduces the braking and acceleration and stability at high speed. Positive camber - outward tilt - has no real advantages in terms of handling, braking, acceleration or stability. Excess negative camber make your tires wear faster than the inside of the outer edge, and a positive camber will be discharged faster at the outer edge.


Imagine looking at the rim side and then draw an imaginary line from the top of the ball joint through the lower joint all the way to the ground. Now imagine a vertical line is completely straight through the center of the wheel. You will see that a line drawn through the ball joints hits the ground, just in front of the vertical line. The ball joint line is your wheel's pivot axis, while the vertical line, which applies the tire force. The greater the distance between the pivot line and the vertical line - the more advance angle - the harder the wheel would attempt to center during rotation. More advancing angle is greater steering effort, but the result is increased speed stability and better steering precision and feedback.

Toe Angle

Imagine standing on the hood of your car's windscreen with your body forward, your eyes looking down at the wheels. If you could see the tires through the fenders, you understand that you probably do not indicate on the front; or good angle to each other in the front or at a distance from each other. If the wheels point to another in a state of convergence that will always try to pull the car to the center. This increases stability at high speed, but painful treatment response. Toe-out can help make the car more flexible, but can also make it a bit twitchy. Zero toe, or completely parallel adjustment, improves fuel efficiency and tire life, because the tires are not moving sideways - known as scrubbing - as you drive down the road.

Setting the Alignment

Mechanics there are several ways to determine the angle of inclination of the wheel, but many modern shops use a laser alignment system. Laser systems are attached to the hub and suspension perfectly projecting a beam of light in the degree level graphics, and the mechanical adjustment of the suspension, respectively. All vehicles have means to set toe angle, usually by rotating a threaded connection to the steering linkage. This lengthens or shortens the distance between the edges of the tire. Caster angle is usually not adjustable, except for vehicles dedicated race cars, many manufacturers provide some means of adjusting camber. Strut suspension system can use high angle tilt adjustable stand plate to move inward or outward, while the A-arm suspension typically use shims set between the upper control arm and the frame.

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