Even the most novice automobile driver will notice if their car isn’t moving as straight as it should on a leveled road or highway. You will notice that your car has a tendency to veer on the right or left, depending on which part needs adjustment in the alignment. This happens when at least one of your wheels is misaligned. You should definitely get this checked and fixed before it worsens and causes an accident. Continue to reading to find out how you can correct this potentially dangerous situation.
- Know the reason why your wheels are misaligned. There are three factors that affect a cars’s wheel alignment. The caster refers to the angle that the wheel pivots on. Camber refers to the vertical relation of the wheels to the ground. Toe-in is the difference between the distance between the front tires and the distance of the back tires. If your problem is with your caster or camber, then you must have an auto mechanic fix this. But if the problem lies with the toe, then it’s possible for you to make the necessary adjustment to set your wheel alignment right.
- Check the correct toe setting of your car’s wheel alignment. You can easily find the correct setting in the car manufacturer's manual that you have and in some automobile repair guides. Your local library probably has copies of automobile repair manuals that you can use, but you will definitely find this information online in the car manufacturer’s web site or in forums.
- Check the wheel for unstable components. Using jack stands, raise the car above the ground. When the wheels are hanging about, give them a firm shake and observe if anything is loose. Adjust loose nuts and bolts as you see them.
- Mark the circumference of each tire. Using a pocket knife, place the tip against the tire and spin it. You should press the tip of the pocket knife in such a way that the tip is making a slight mark on the tires.
- Bring down the car. Lower the jack stand and set the car on the ground. Push down the fender down several times to make sure that the car is settled firmly.
- Measure the toe settings. To do this, get inside your car and make sure that it’s in a neutral position. While inside, turn the steering wheel loose but with the tires still pointing straight. Get out of the car and go to the back. Push the car for about 10 feet. Ask someone’s help with this in case you cannot do it yourself. Just make sure that you push at the same time and keep it as straight as possible. Measure the distance between the tire marks at front using a tape measure. Do the same thing with the back tires.
- Compare the toe setting. Subtract the different in the measurements between the front and back tires. Check if the result is within the recommended toe settings for your car. If they are not, make the necessary adjustments by loosening or tightening the nuts found at the end of the tie rod.
- Check if the wheels are aligned. You will need to repeat steps 5 to 7 to be able to do this. Then take your car for a spin on a leveled, straight road to get an actual feel of the adjustment.
Proper wheel alignment prolongs the life of your tires. Make sure that your wheels are properly aligned so it won’t be so hard to handle and steer the wheels of your car.