Wheel Alignment 101: The Basics and More

Proper wheel alignment is essential for a smooth drive and the safety of passengers and the vehicle. In addition to causing early tire wear, improper wheel alignment can also lead to accidents. So, whether you already own a vehicle or are still looking for junk cars for sale, it is important to understand the basics of wheel alignment. To help, in this blog, we present all you need to know about wheel alignment. Read on.

wheel alignment

Types of Suspension Angles
Before diving into the details of the different wheel alignment, it is important to understand the three suspension angles.

Toe
The toe angle is one of the primary parameters measured to check wheel alignment. The toe angle measures the tire direction as compared to the centerline of the vehicle when it is viewed from directly above. Toe alignment is mainly categorized into two types: positive toe-in and negative toe-out. A vehicle has a negative toe-out when the wheels are diverging outwards from the centerline of the vehicle. On the other hand, a positive toe-in indicates that the wheels are converging inwards from the centerline of the vehicle. When it comes to practical use, most rear-wheel drive vehicles use positive toe-in alignment and front-end drive vehicles use negative toe-out wheel alignment to enable the tires to run parallel to each other.

Camber
The camber angle, as viewed from the front or back of a vehicle, identifies how far away the wheel slants from the center of the vehicle, and can either be positive or negative. When the camber angle is negative, it indicates that the tire is tilted inwards from the center of the vehicle. On the contrary, a positive camber angle indicates that the tire is tilted outwards from the center of the vehicle. The ideal camber alignment for a vehicle mainly depends on driving style. It is, therefore, important to do your research and know which camber angle is ideal for your driving style.

Caster
The caster angle as viewed from the side of the vehicle. The caster angle measures the forward or backward slope of a tire compared to a line that is drawn through the upper and lower pivot points. A positive caster angle indicates that the tire slope is towards the vehicle’s rear. On the other hand, a negative caster angle indicates that the tire slope is towards the vehicle’s front. Aligning wheels to the ideal caster angle is important to achieve optimum stability, cornering, and steering balance.

Thrust Angle
The thrust angle is measured with respect to an imaginary line that is drawn perpendicular to the centerline of the rear axle. The angle basically compares the rear axles direction to the centerline of the vehicle. If your vehicle has an incorrect thrust angle, it is important to seek professional help and get the issue corrected as soon as possible.

Types of Wheel Alignment
Now that you understand justify three basic suspension angles, let us cover the three different types of wheel alignments.

Front Wheel
Front-wheel alignment only measures the angles of the front axle and adjusts them accordingly. Although front wheel alignment is passable for vehicles that feature a strong rear axle, aligning the front wheels to the rear wheels is also important to avoid on-road mishaps.

Thrust Line
In case of a thrust line wheel alignment, the front two wheels are aligned with respect to each other to make sure they run parallel to each other, regardless of speed. Thrust line alignment also identifies whether the rear axles are incorrectly aligned and the necessary measures are taken to rectify the alignment.

Four Wheel
Four-wheel alignment is the ideal choice for all vehicles with four-wheel independent suspensions or adjustable rear-end suspensions. In four-wheel alignment, all four wheels are taken into consideration and the front and rear axle angles are measured and adjusted accordingly to avoid on-road mishaps.

Wrap up
Now that you know the basics of wheel alignment, make sure you remember the key aspects mentioned in this blog. If you are yet get your hands on a car that you can call your own, check out the junk cars for sale listed at AutoBidMaster, a trusted online auction platform listing salvage and clean title vehicles. If you have any questions, get in touch with our team of experts Simply call +1 (503) 298-4300 or fill out our contact form and we will take it from there.

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