Wheel alignment, often referred to as 'tracking' is the setting of the angles of the wheels relative to the body of the vehicle. Incorrect alignment can lead to increased tyre and suspension wear, increased fuel consumption and poor handling.
Signs of incorrect wheel alignment and when should I have it checked
Symptoms of incorrect alignment can include the following:
- Your vehicle has hit something such as a kerb or large pothole
- Your tyres are wearing unevenly, eg tyre on one side wears faster than that on the other or the wear is different across the width of the tread
- Your vehicle pulls or drifts to one side or the steering does not return easily after making a turn
If you have replaced any suspension / steering components or have fitted new wheels / tyres then this can also affect the wheel alignment and so should be checked.
Difference between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing
Wheel alignment ensures that the angles the wheels have to each other and the rest of the vehicle meet the manufacturers recommended specifications with differ between vehicle models. Wheel balancing ensures that each wheel spins with the minimum vibration by adding or removing small weights to distribute the total weight of the wheel & tyre evenly around its' circumference.