Go Back   AnandTech Forums > Social > The Garage

Forums
· Hardware and Technology
· CPUs and Overclocking
· Motherboards
· Video Cards and Graphics
· Memory and Storage
· Power Supplies
· Cases & Cooling
· SFF, Notebooks, Pre-Built/Barebones PCs
· Networking
· Peripherals
· General Hardware
· Highly Technical
· Computer Help
· Home Theater PCs
· Consumer Electronics
· Digital and Video Cameras
· Mobile Devices & Gadgets
· Audio/Video & Home Theater
· Software
· Software for Windows
· All Things Apple
· *nix Software
· Operating Systems
· Programming
· PC Gaming
· Console Gaming
· Distributed Computing
· Security
· Social
· Off Topic
· Politics and News
· Discussion Club
· Love and Relationships
· The Garage
· Health and Fitness
· Home and Garden
· Merchandise and Shopping
· For Sale/Trade
· Hot Deals with Free Stuff/Contests
· Black Friday 2014
· Forum Issues
· Technical Forum Issues
· Personal Forum Issues
· Suggestion Box
· Moderator Resources
· Moderator Discussions
   

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-07-2008, 01:29 AM   #1
Solodays
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 853
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

is this part of the maintenance process, if so what exactly is it?
Solodays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 02:07 AM   #2
Gamingphreek
Lifer
 
Gamingphreek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 11,666
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Well not to sound like a jerk, but it aligns your wheels. In other words, it ensures that when you are pointing the wheel straight, that the tires are indeed following suit and not pointing off slightly to the left or right.

I don't know what maintenance process you speak of, but if you notice your call pulling to one side of the road then this will more than likely solve that.

-Kevin
__________________
"And 'lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." -Matthew 28:20

Proud to be a Hokie :: neVer forgeT 4/16/07
Gamingphreek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 02:24 AM   #3
Solodays
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 853
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

ya, thats what i thought too, but not sure, i didnt know wheels need align checks up, WTH? i never heard of such a thing until i saw an ad on tv the other day. my parents honda had like over 90k miles on it and i dont think they ever brought it in for an alignment check up. it's been flawless.
Solodays is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 05:13 AM   #4
alkemyst
No Lifer
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Corner of EPIC and ┼WESOME ST.
Posts: 83,994
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Solodays
ya, thats what i thought too, but not sure, i didnt know wheels need align checks up, WTH? i never heard of such a thing until i saw an ad on tv the other day. my parents honda had like over 90k miles on it and i dont think they ever brought it in for an alignment check up. it's been flawless.
how do you know?
__________________
The Masamune blade would repel the leaves and let them flow safely down the stream, while the Murasame blade would attract and cut them up.
alkemyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 05:31 AM   #5
Colt45
Lifer
 
Colt45's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Советский Союз
Posts: 19,724
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

flawless until it starts eating tires
__________________
######
############
##########################
##################################################
##################################################
Colt45 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 06:27 AM   #6
everydae
Diamond Member
 
everydae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 3,147
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Solodays
ya, thats what i thought too, but not sure, i didnt know wheels need align checks up, WTH? i never heard of such a thing until i saw an ad on tv the other day. my parents honda had like over 90k miles on it and i dont think they ever brought it in for an alignment check up. it's been flawless.
Wheel Alignment really deals with driving habit, I think. If you drive carefully and never hit pothole or street corner, it will stay ok for such long time. For instance, my Hyundai Sonata last without any alignment for 7 years/95k miles since it was driven by my parents for 5 years/70k miles, and I drove quite carefully as well.

On the other hand, I drive really aggressive with my Bimmer this day, and I am predicting some alignment might need in near future as I hit number of potholes as well as I've done quite tight cornering.
__________________
My Heatware : 164-0-0
everydae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 07:07 AM   #7
bruceb
Diamond Member
 
bruceb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wayne, New Jersey
Posts: 7,284
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Potholes and curbs will wreak havoc on your alignment. But just normal driving on good roads will usually result in little, if any, change in the alignment, except as parts of the suspension and chassis parts, like bushings, tie rod ends, shocks, springs, start to wear out and get more
play. Then you need to align to compensate for it and also after any parts like that are changed. Also any moderate crash can knock it out of
specs.
bruceb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 07:29 AM   #8
AMCRambler
Diamond Member
 
AMCRambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Literbike
Posts: 7,583
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Alignment isn't something you really need to get checked regularly. It's more something you get done to fix a problem that develops. Bad alignment just like any other mechanical problem with a car will have symptoms. If you check for the symptoms regularly, then you'll catch that you're having a problem and you can take it in to get it corrected. Some of the symptoms are the car pulls to one side or the other as you're driving, uneven tire tread wear (ie:inside or outside wearing faster then the rest of the tread), vibration in the steering wheel at speed and tire squeal when going around a turn. Those are the major ones I can think of. Some of them coudl be symptoms of other problems with the suspension too but if you take it in to get it looked at they will be able to tell you if a standard alignment will fix the issue or if it's something else.
__________________
Hook the pain ray up to a satellite, set it to "popcorn" and point it at Afghanistan.
Nebor

He goes, you the same as me for my car.
Lean L
AMCRambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 07:32 AM   #9
Billb2
Platinum Member
 
Billb2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Greater Chicagoland Area
Posts: 2,578
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Since you know so little about cars, it's a good idea to get a check every now and then (once a year or so). The technician will check for worn parts. If there are any, they can be replaced before they start causing a problem or worse, fail.
__________________
Misinformation is available from a variety of other sources. Misinformation is just like real information but wrong.
Billb2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 08:12 AM   #10
mooseracing
Golden Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,711
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Gamingphreek
Well not to sound like a jerk, but it aligns your wheels. In other words, it ensures that when you are pointing the wheel straight, that the tires are indeed following suit and not pointing off slightly to the left or right.

I don't know what maintenance process you speak of, but if you notice your call pulling to one side of the road then this will more than likely solve that.

-Kevin


More than just pointing straight, most if nto all alignments include checking the camber. Which means pointing the tire up and down at a certain degree depending on the car. so instead of / or \ the tire is | or maybe just a little off.
__________________
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Ben Franklin

I have a CCW, it's called the 2nd amendment
-Nugent
mooseracing is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 08:35 AM   #11
Zenmervolt
Supermoderator
The Garage
Elite member
 
Zenmervolt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 24,463
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: AMCRambler
Alignment isn't something you really need to get checked regularly. It's more something you get done to fix a problem that develops. Bad alignment just like any other mechanical problem with a car will have symptoms. If you check for the symptoms regularly, then you'll catch that you're having a problem and you can take it in to get it corrected. Some of the symptoms are the car pulls to one side or the other as you're driving, uneven tire tread wear (ie:inside or outside wearing faster then the rest of the tread), vibration in the steering wheel at speed and tire squeal when going around a turn. Those are the major ones I can think of. Some of them coudl be symptoms of other problems with the suspension too but if you take it in to get it looked at they will be able to tell you if a standard alignment will fix the issue or if it's something else.
The squealing is how you know you're going as fast as you can. It's a helpful indicator.

I get my alignment checked once a year regardless of symptoms. If something crops up, I'll have it checked in between those times as well.

ZV
__________________
Futures and Options

TANSTAAFL
Zenmervolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 09:24 AM   #12
OdiN
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,431
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

I wish I knew someone who knew how to align cars properly.

I've taken mine to a dozen places, here and in CA and nobody can align it properly.
OdiN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 09:28 AM   #13
zoiks
Lifer
 
zoiks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Palo Alto,CA
Posts: 11,752
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: OdiN
I wish I knew someone who knew how to align cars properly.

I've taken mine to a dozen places, here and in CA and nobody can align it properly.
What makes you think that your wheels are not aligned properly? Doesn't the shop give you a chart showing the measurements of your car?
__________________
Palestinians have a right to defend the atrocities waged against them.
Palestine will Rise.
USS Liberty. Never forget.
zoiks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 09:45 AM   #14
herm0016
Diamond Member
 
herm0016's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 5,252
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

your wheel alignment is also what brings your steering back to center after you turn a corner. Caster, camber and tow are all checked. i just found this, hope it helps. http://autorepair.about.com/cs...alinfo/a/aa012201a.htm
__________________
heat
Oil and gas logging Engineer
KD8DYO
herm0016 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 10:14 AM   #15
Pacfanweb
Lifer
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 12,572
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

I'm going to provide a very simple, visual explanation of what the different parts of an alignment are, since lots of folks really don't understand:

Toe: Look down at your feet. Rotate your toes inward, like being pigeon-toed. When your wheels do that, that's being "toed in". Opposite is "toed out". Most cars' alignment specs will have the wheels VERY slightly toed in, as the rolling force of the car and the little bit of slop in the components will let the toe move slightly, which will let the wheels be straight when moving.

Camber: \ / <--Looking at your tires from in front of the car. You wouldn't want them sitting like that. They should be basically straight up and down. Tires with camber like those symbols would wear the outside edge horribly.


Caster: Picture the raked front end of a chopper, vs a dirt bike. This is caster. You don't want one side to be drastically different from the other. Can cause weird handling characteristics.

All these specs work in conjunction with each other. There is some tolerance in each spec...meaning there isn't just "one" number to set each one on and it's right.
Sometimes a certain vehicle might need to be to the negative side of the camber spec to not wear the tires. Or might need to be toed in more on one side to keep from pulling.
This is where a "good" front end man comes in very handy, as opposed to someone who just sets all the specs in the middle of the range and lets it go.
__________________
I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em. -
Jimmy V

"One of the reasons I left Sabbath is Van Halen was blowing us off the stage every night. It was embarrassing." Ozzy
Pacfanweb is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 10:35 AM   #16
Zenmervolt
Supermoderator
The Garage
Elite member
 
Zenmervolt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 24,463
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Pacfanweb
I'm going to provide a very simple, visual explanation of what the different parts of an alignment are, since lots of folks really don't understand:

Toe: Look down at your feet. Rotate your toes inward, like being pigeon-toed. When your wheels do that, that's being "toed in". Opposite is "toed out". Most cars' alignment specs will have the wheels VERY slightly toed in, as the rolling force of the car and the little bit of slop in the components will let the toe move slightly, which will let the wheels be straight when moving.

Camber: \ / <--Looking at your tires from in front of the car. You wouldn't want them sitting like that. They should be basically straight up and down. Tires with camber like those symbols would wear the outside edge horribly.

Caster: Picture the raked front end of a chopper, vs a dirt bike. This is caster. You don't want one side to be drastically different from the other. Can cause weird handling characteristics.

All these specs work in conjunction with each other. There is some tolerance in each spec...meaning there isn't just "one" number to set each one on and it's right.
Sometimes a certain vehicle might need to be to the negative side of the camber spec to not wear the tires. Or might need to be toed in more on one side to keep from pulling.
This is where a "good" front end man comes in very handy, as opposed to someone who just sets all the specs in the middle of the range and lets it go.
You've got it (as usual), but because I can't resist going into more detail:

Caster: Usually combined with "trail". Larger caster angles make the steering heavier, but also improve stability as well as increasing the camber gain during cornering, which is positive for handling.

Toe: Actually has more impact on edge wear than camber. Toe-out increases steering response, but also makes the car more twitchy, sacrificing straight-line stability. Excessive toe causes more issues with tire wear than does camber. Most cases of tire edge wear are from incorrect toe and not from camber issues.

Camber: Positive camber (tire leans outward, away from the car) is rarely good. Negative camber (tire leans inward, towards the car) has benefits for cornering as it counteracts the effects of cornering forces on the outside tires. Most cars have very slight negative camber, both to help in cornering and also because having some camber (regardless of whether it is positive or negative) on the steering axle will result in lighter steering effort.

A more detailed explanation can be found here.

ZV
__________________
Futures and Options

TANSTAAFL
Zenmervolt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 04:54 PM   #17
Billb2
Platinum Member
 
Billb2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Greater Chicagoland Area
Posts: 2,578
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

And what about bump steer?
__________________
Misinformation is available from a variety of other sources. Misinformation is just like real information but wrong.
Billb2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 05:17 PM   #18
randay
Lifer
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 10,470
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

ackerman?
randay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 05:41 PM   #19
OdiN
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 16,431
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: zoiks
Quote:
Originally posted by: OdiN
I wish I knew someone who knew how to align cars properly.

I've taken mine to a dozen places, here and in CA and nobody can align it properly.
What makes you think that your wheels are not aligned properly? Doesn't the shop give you a chart showing the measurements of your car?
Vibration in the wheel and uneven tire wear. It's not horrible, but it's there.

They do give a chart and all, but I don't see how that really matters.
OdiN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 08:02 PM   #20
Bignate603
Lifer
 
Bignate603's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 13,900
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: randay
ackerman?
Ackerman steering angle basically affects how your wheels turn in relation to each other. When you turn the inner wheel turns a tighter turn than the outside wheel. To keep your wheels from squealing and excessive tire wear the ackerman angle is designed to make your inside wheel turn more than the outside wheel. AFAIK in most cars this is not adjustable. It's built into the geometry of how your steering connects together (most importantly, the steering arm angle on the steering knuckle).

You really don't need to worry about the ackerman angle unless you're doing significant suspension modifications.

Quote:
And what about bump steer?
This is a problem usually associated with suspension modifications. I mess around with jeeps and it can be a significant problem when you life a vehicle if it's not done correctly. The easy way to think about is that as your suspension goes through its travel the steering geometry should not change. When you modify the steering (or the steering is poorly designed) this isn't true and when you hit a bump the steering will veer.
__________________
Ugly can be fixed,stupid is forever.
AnandTech Moderator
Bignate603 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 11:15 PM   #21
Pacfanweb
Lifer
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 12,572
Default what exactly is Wheel alignment?

Quote:
Originally posted by: OdiN
Quote:
Originally posted by: zoiks
Quote:
Originally posted by: OdiN
I wish I knew someone who knew how to align cars properly.

I've taken mine to a dozen places, here and in CA and nobody can align it properly.
What makes you think that your wheels are not aligned properly? Doesn't the shop give you a chart showing the measurements of your car?
Vibration in the wheel and uneven tire wear. It's not horrible, but it's there.

They do give a chart and all, but I don't see how that really matters.
Vibration in the wheel isn't alignment. The uneven tire wear could be.
__________________
I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em. -
Jimmy V

"One of the reasons I left Sabbath is Van Halen was blowing us off the stage every night. It was embarrassing." Ozzy
Pacfanweb is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Alpha 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.