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Wheel Alignment refers to an
adjustment of a car's suspension.

The thrust angle (as shown in the
diagram above) is an imaginary line
drawn perpendicular to the rear
axle's center-line.
It compares the direction that the
rear axle is aimed with.

Looking at a car from above, you
would draw the thrust line
perpendicular to the rear axle.
This identifies the direction in
which the rear wheels want to roll.

If the thrust angle aims to the
right, this is called a positive
thrust angle.

If the thrust angle aims to the left,
this is negative thrust angle.

A positive thrust angle will try to
steer the vehicle to the left, while a
negative thrust angle will try
to steer the vehicle to the right.

Wheel alignment is also referred
to as tracking.
It is not an adjustment of the tires
or the wheels themselves.
The key to proper alignment is
adjusting the angles of the tires
which affects how they make
contact with the road.

Three basic angles contribute to
proper wheel alignment:
camber, caster, and toe.

Camber is the angle of the front
tires when viewed from the
front of the car.
When the angle of the tire
slants away from vertical in either
direction, it can be a sign of
misalignment.

When your car's suspension and
all of the steering components are
lined up and straight, the
wheels are aligned.

Even so, it's a good idea to have yo
ur
alignment checked once a year.

Getting a tire rotation at the same
time is also recommended
.

Your mechanic will typically
recommend doing the wheel
alignment every 2 - 3 years.
The wheel alignment is also
recommended when new tires
are installed.

If you experience any of the
following problems, check
with your mechanic for an
alignment inspection:

Your steering wheel is not straight
when driving on a level road.

You hear unusual noises in your
suspension system.

The vehicle wanders from one side
of a lane to the other.

Your vehicle pulls or drifts to one side
when traveling in a straight line or
when braking.

You feel vibration in the steering
wheel or through your vehicle's seat.

The vehicle's steering feels loose.

You haven't had a wheel alignment
in a long period of time.

Your tires are wearing unevenly.

Squealing tires on turns.

The steering wheel does not
return easily after a turn.

Correct alignment is critical to safely
controlling your vehicle, braking
stability, extending tire life,
and ensuring a comfortable
ride.