You may understand how important it is to take your car in for a service on a regular basis, to look at things like oil levels, brake efficiency and so on. However, you may not realise that it is equally important to take your vehicle into a specialist tyre dealer, in order to give your tyres and wheels a service. You may think that once the covers are fitted, all you need to do is keep an eye on the pressures, but there's a lot more to it. What should you bear in mind here?
You will of course realise that tyres are a replaceable commodity and will wear down as the miles rack up. However, they will wear down much more quickly if you don't pay attention to the way that they are fitted to the wheels and also to the way that the wheels operate in relation to the rest of the vehicle.
Why Alignment Is Crucial
To look at the importance of wheel alignment first, this will determine whether the car travels in a straight line when in motion. It will also determine whether the tyres experience even wear across their surface, or whether they will quickly sustain damage to the edges.
To set this up properly, the technician will look at camber and caster angles, together with "toe in" and out. These angles are very finely tuned. Essentially, these calculations will make the difference between a wheel that sits perfectly perpendicular to the road surface and one that is angled slightly inward or outward at the top. Also, modifications are made where the wheel is attached to the steering rack, to determine if it will point a degree or so left or right of a line that stretches straight in front of the vehicle.
It's certainly quite technical, but the operator will have a range of tools in order to get this right.
The Balancing Act
When it comes to the tyres, the objective is to ensure that they rotate properly, without any imbalances. To get this right, the technician will put the wheel and tyre combination onto a special machine, which will automatically indicate where balancing weights need to be applied around the circumference.
What's at Stake
Without all of these modifications, you could experience vibration as you're driving down the road and could be constantly fighting with the wheel, to try and keep the vehicle in a straight line. As you can see, it's crucial for you to schedule a wheel and tyre service, at the same time as you book your car in for its overhaul.