Correct wheel alignment what are the benefits?
Whether you drive a lorry, bus, 4WD, or car, wheel alignment can have a dramatic effect on steering, road handling, driver fatigue, tyre wear, fuel consumption and general damage to your vehicle.
SAFETY & FINANCIAL BENEFITS
Apart from the safety factors of improved steering and road handling, comfort, correct wheel alignment can bring significant financial benefits to any form of road travel or transport. Correct wheel alignment can extend the life of your tyres, and it can also improve your fuel economy
Here are some of the factors to consider in wheel alignment, with a description of the symptoms, and an explanation of the benefits of correction.
As the vehicle moves forward, the wheels lean to one side or the other in relation to the axle centre ("positive" or "negative" camber). The angle of the camber is a factor in the design of steering geometry and incorrect camber will affect handling, and cause excessive wear to the edge of the tyres.
Looking at the vehicle from the side, the wheels lean forward or back in relation to the axle centre. This function is also part of the steering design, and if the castor is set incorrectly, this will affect steering and handling characteristics.
TOE-IN and TOE-OUT
As the wheels face forward, they turn in towards each other slightly (toe-in) or turn outwards (toe-out). If this adjustment is not correct, rubber is scraped off the entire tread of the tyres shortening life and affecting handling.
Wheels and tyres must be evenly balanced as they revolve around the axle. If they rotate unevenly, the tyre tread will wear unevenly and excessively, causing wheel wobble, and vibration in the steering, which stress the vehicle and tire the driver.
DRIVE AXLE ALIGNMENT
Misalignment of the drive axles causes excessive wear on driving tyres and components. Steering tyres then wear unevenly to compensate for the mistracking of the drive axle and all this increases fuel consumption, and shortens tyre life.
TRAILER AXLE ALIGNMENT
While trailer axle misalignment is not noticeable through the steering wheel, this condition causes uneven tyre wear, increases fuel consumption and stresses the whole rig.
Incorrect tyre pressures can dramatically reduce tyre life and can cause the steering to pull to one side. If tyre pressure is as little as 10% above or below the correct setting, this can cause an increase in tyre wear from 20% to 80%
TOE OUT ON TURNS
The incorrect setting of the toe out on turns can cause excessive wear on the steer-tyres.
Most importantly is the correct wheel alignment of the entire lorry, which is absolutely essential