It’s important that your vehicle’s wheels are properly aligned as it will help improve vehicle handling as well as prolong the life of your tyres. This article will help you understand why wheel alignment is an important aspect of car maintenance and how much you should pay for it.
What is wheel alignment?
A wheel alignment is the adjustment of a vehicle’s suspension so that the wheels are aligned with each other and pointing in the right direction. This is done by adjusting the suspension components of the vehicle so that the wheels are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. Wheel alignment is important for maintaining the handling of a vehicle and preventing uneven tire wear.
When do I need a wheel alignment?
Your car can likely benefit from wheel alignment if you experience the following symptoms:
- Car pulling to one side: A telltale sign that you need to do wheel alignment is if you find that your car is pulling to one side, or if your steering wheel is off centre when driving straight.
- Uneven tyre wear: Depending on how the wheels are misaligned, tyres will wear out in different ways. Tyre wear can be caused by other factors such as under or overinflation or worn out suspension so it’s important to understand the root cause before proceeding with wheel alignment.
- Unusual steering: If you find that the steering wheel is vibrating then it could be the case that the wheels are misaligned or not balanced correctly.
Is wheel alignment the same as tracking?
Wheel alignment and tracking are terms used interchangeably, but they do differ slightly. Wheel alignment is the more modern, ‘correct’ term. It involves adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. With wheel alignment, a mechanic will check camber, toe and caster. Tracking, on the other hand, is historically the process of adjusting the front wheels only as in the past most cars would have a fixed rear axle and hence no adjustment could be made on the rear. The rear wheels would simply ‘track’ the front ones.
What is the difference between wheel alignment and wheel balancing?
Wheel balancing is the process of equalising the weight of a tyre and wheel assembly so that it spins smoothly. It is important that all four wheels are properly aligned and balanced for optimum performance.
How much does wheel alignment cost in the UK?
Cost of wheel alignment can start from around £40. How much it will cost to fix your car’s wheel alignment will depend on the make and model of the vehicle, where you live and who fixes it. With ClickMechanic, prices can be up to 50% cheaper than franchise dealers.
To find out how much wheel alignment will cost for your car, simple input your postcode and vehicle registration number and get an instant price on the ClickMechanic website.