Wheel Alignment and its Benefits

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 02/11/2023

Four-wheelers are a necessary part of most households. Every family at once in their lifetime thinks of buying a new car at some point. However, being a car owner is not just owning a vehicle but doing regular maintenance to keep it smooth. People often look for regular oil changes, battery and all, but when it comes to wheel alignment, people are either unaware or ignore it.

Wheel or tyre alignment is essential as it provides longevity and proper functioning to our wheels. It prevents the vehicle from damage and accidents.

This blog will explain wheel alignment and its benefits.

What is Wheel Alignment?

The term wheel alignment refers to the adjustment of the angles of car tyres. The car alignment and balancing help keep the wheels parallel and at a perpendicular angle to the ground. The adjustment and alignment system connecting the wheels to the vehicle is called suspension.

Further, the suspension system keeps all four tyres aligned in the same direction and speed. It also improves the wheel contact with the road.

Importance of Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment is crucial to vehicle maintenance since it can enhance vehicle performance and characteristics. Further, it also increases the safety measures of the vehicle. Besides safety, proper wheel alignment can help reduce the wear and tear of the four-wheeler. It also increases the lifespan of tyres.

The proper car tyre alignment also helps boost fuel consumption. With proper wheel alignment of the car, steering and vehicle handling also improve since it reduces the braking distances.

What Causes the Wheel Misalignment?

Wheel misalignment is very common on Indian roads. The Indian roads are far from perfect, with their bumpy sections and potholes. Most drivers, while driving on Indian roads, pay attention to potholes and bumps, but sometimes, even after paying caution, vehicles end up going through potholes.

The vehicle at regular speed, if it falls into potholes, can create a sudden impact on the tyres of vehicles, which leads to misalignment. Another cause that can lead to misalignment of car wheels is a minor collision, such as hitting an object on the road, etc, that hasn't caused any visible damage can create misalignment of wheels.

Types of Wheel Alignment

After learning all about the car alignment importance and the causes of misalignment, let's look at types of wheel alignment. There are three types of wheel alignment, which are as follows:

Front-end Alignment It is also known as two-wheel alignment. This generally occurs in vehicles with a solid rear axle.

Four-wheel Alignment This type of wheel alignment checks the suspension of all four wheels. This wheel alignment aims to adjust the rear and front wheels to the centreline.

Thrust-angle Alignment In this type of alignment, the front wheels are aligned and adjusted, and the rear wheel's thrust angle is adjusted to the centreline.

Benefits of Wheel Alignment

Getting wheel alignment done during maintenance every two years is necessary. There are several benefits of wheel alignments, such as:

Better Fuel Efficiency- When the wheels of a vehicle are not aligned properly, they won't function properly, which will cause the engine to work harder. When the engine works beyond its capability leads to an increase in rolling resistance, which causes an increase in fuel consumption. Further, misaligned cars can cause a reduction of vehicle mileage by 10%. But by aligning the wheels, the torque and power spread evenly, which causes fuel consumption.

Good tyre Life- The wheels and tyres of any vehicle are essential elements. When we neglect wheel alignment for so long, it ends up causing the hefty investment of replacing the tyres. It generally causes the uneven wear down of tyres. However, car owners can extend the tyre's life by aligning the wheels on time.

Enhanced Safety- Another most discussed car alignment benefit is improved safety. When the car's wheels are misaligned, the driver can have difficulty controlling the car, especially if there is a sudden stop or turn. Such incidents can lead to major or minor accidents. With proper wheel alignment, the driver will have better vehicle control, enhancing safety.

Smooth Ride- Further, when the car's wheel alignment is off, the vehicle drifts to the left and right side of the road, even if the steering wheel is perfectly straight. This often leads to bumpy and jarring rides. Further, adjusting steering wheels to maintain the alignment is quite tiring. By aligning the wheels, the driver will have a better driving experience.

Fewer Auto Repairs- Lastly, misaligned vehicles affect not only the wheel's lifespan but also other components of vehicles, such as brakes, suspensions, etc. Damage to these components can lead to an expensive trip to the mechanic. But by spending time to align your wheels properly, car owners can save a lot more since the auto repairs will be minimal.

Signs of Incorrect Wheel Alignment

Often, car owners need to find out if their vehicle needs a wheel alignment or not. This is due to the lack of knowledge about the subject. However, there are some signs to identify if the car wheels are misaligned, which are listed below:

  • The first sign is if the vehicle is pulling or drifting towards the right or left side of the road.

  • If there is any vibration in the steering wheel.

  • Further, if there is any uneven or abnormal tread wear.

  • Besides this, if the tyres are squealing.

  • Lastly, if the steering wheel alignment is off even while driving straight.

How Wheel Alignment is Carried Out?

Car owners need help when it comes to wheel alignment. Adjusting the wheels and maintaining the angle may seem like a simple task, but the process of wheel alignment process is challenging. A proper mechanic with years of experience under their belts is needed for the wheel alignment. Since they are equipped with modern tools, they can carry out the process more professionally. The wheel alignment process has three crucial factors that play an essential role. Below, we have listed them out:

Caster- The caster, also known as the vertical angle of tyres, is the angle that calculates how far backward or forward the steering wheel axis is tilted. The steering wheel axis is the line between the wheel's lower and upper ball joints. And ballpoints are the points where the wheels are attached to the vehicle. If the wheels have a positive caster, the steering axis is tilted towards the driver, resulting in more steering efforts for straight-line driving.

Camber- Camber is another angle the repair mechanic checks for verifying the wheel alignment. The angle verifies how far the wheel tilts lean inward towards the vehicle and how far the wheel tilts away from the vehicle. Having a proper camber angle is crucial to have a safe corner of the car. An improper camber angle can cause wear and tear to the outside and inside edges of the wheel.

Toe- Another angle which plays a crucial role is the toe alignment angle, which is the angle that points out if the wheels are straight or not. It has two terms: toe-in, which refers to whether the tyre's front edge is pointing towards each other, and toe-out, which means the front edge of the tyre is pointing away from each other. The car wheels should have an appropriate amount of toe-in and toe-out angle. If the toe alignment is off, the tyre's tread gets severely affected.

Getting Motor Insurance for Car Repair and Maintenance Costs

The trip to the mechanic's house can cause a massive burden on the car owner if they don't have insurance for the car. The car's repair, whether related to a tyre or engine, is a crucial yet expensive procedure. It is necessary to get it done in a reputable garage since we don't want to compromise the car's performance.

By buying a comprehensive car insurance policy, you can not only protect your vehicle from natural or man-made calamities. But, the insurance company will incur all the losses in case of any damage. You can enhance the vehicle's protection with add-ons like Tyre Secure, Engine Secure, and more offered by Tata AIG.

Not just this, one can easily do car insurance renewal online by visiting the Tata AIG website in just a few steps with minimum paperwork.

Conclusion

If you want your car to run smoothly on Indian roads, proper and regular maintenance is necessary. Getting regular checks is mandatory, but also ensure the vehicle's wheels are aligned correctly, especially if you have hit the potholes during the ride. There are various signs to determine if the wheel alignment is off. It is best to pay attention to them and contact the repair mechanic immediately.

FAQS

Why is wheel alignment necessary?

If the wheel or tyre alignment is improper, it can affect the vehicle's handling capabilities and also cause damage to the tyre.

Is it okay to drive with off-wheel alignment?

Driving your vehicle for long with off and wrong wheel alignment can cause severe damage to the tyre. Sometimes, improper alignment can cause accidents since the vehicle's performance is compromised.

How do I check my car alignment?

Hold the steering wheel firmly at 10 and 2 while giving acceleration to check the wheel alignment while starting your car. If the wheels start vibrating, it means the alignment is off.

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