Do you remember how industrious your tyre fitter was when you last bought a new set for your car? Can you remember how feverishly he or she was labouring away after the tyres had been fitted to the wheels and before you could leave? The fitter was working on tracking and balancing, but that is not just a one-time job. It's something you should be considering on a regular basis. Why is this, and what's involved?
Firstly, the wheels on your car need to be aligned properly. This is also known as tracking in the trade. If the tyres are not aligned, they are going to wear out a lot more quickly. You will also spend more money on petrol, as your engine is going to have to push against an incorrectly set steering geometry.
When wheels are aligned, they are configured very precisely at certain angles and trajectories. The figures for your car are decided by its manufacturer. The fitter will be looking to adjust three different elements.
Firstly, the "toe in" or "toe out" needs to be set. You can imagine this by looking down at your own feet and your own toes. When you walk, if your toes are pointing exactly in front of you, then you will find that over time the heel on each shoe will experience even wear. If, on the other hand, your toes are pointing ever so slightly to the side, you're going to wear out one side of your heel. The same analogy can be applied to your tyres.
Now imagine a wheel and tyre combination just sitting on the floor in front of you. The wheel and tyre are angled perpendicularly to the floor. You might imagine that this would be the same when the combination is fitted to the car, but this is not the case. The camber of the tyre will be the degree to which it leans either away from or into the car. When the tyre leans away, this is known as positive camber, and when it leans inward, this is known as negative camber. Too much adjustment will cause wear on either the outer or inner edge, although there is usually always a very slight degree of negative camber for best handling effect.
Castor is slightly more complex and relates to the "tilt" related to the steering axis. More simply, it relates to an adjustment of the steering arms so that the front wheels are generally aligned with the back wheels. This is important for achieving even tyre wear at all four corners and also to achieve stable driving conditions.
Don't forget to book your car in with a mechanic to check all of this geometry as soon as possible. You'll enjoy a smoother ride and save some money doing so.Share
6 December 2016
Hey! My name is Damian and this blog contains some very important information about caring for and protecting your auto. I am not an automotive expert but I do have some experiences which have taught me some important lessons. When I bought a new car a couple of years ago, I was so happy. However, that happiness turned to anger when someone broke into my car. They didn't manage to drive it away but I was super mad. My friend who works in an auto shop recommended that I buy some accessories to improve the security of my car. He also gave me some great tips on how I could keep my car secure.