Imagine trying to run a foot race wearing different kinds of shoes or shoes that don’t fit, are worn out or on the wrong feet. It’s the same as driving with wheels that are not properly aligned. If your car’s alignment is bad, driving becomes more expensive and can even be DANGEROUS. Wheels out of alignment can wear out your tires much faster and wear unevenly. A small error in alignment can wear tires as much as dragging your car sideways 20 feet for every mile you drive! This added drag will cost you in gas mileage too. A bad wheel alignment can also be dangerous because it may cause your car to pull or drift out of your lane or hydroplane on wet pavement. And, uneven tire wear can lead to a blowout or make you lose traction in an emergency.
It doesn’t take a collision to damage or misalign your wheels. Scrubbing or banging into a curb, running into a pothole, or even replacing suspension or steering parts can damage your alignment as much as a major frame-bending accident. If you have steering problems or find uneven wear on your tires you should have your alignment checked as soon as you can.
A good front-end, rear-end, and four-wheel alignment can save you gas, make your tires last longer, and improve the handling of your vehicle. When we align a car, we check the rear wheels as well as the front, if applicable. Most front-wheel drive cars have rear wheels that are alignable.
At Gerry’s Tire & Alignment we will road test your vehicle both before and after the alignment. We test before to understand what’s wrong, and afterward to ensure that your vehicle is correctly aligned — that means it doesn’t pull to one side and that your steering wheel is straight. Other shops may try to get you in the door with an offer of a cheap alignment, and then pressure you into buying a bunch of replacement parts that you probably don’t need. At Gerry’s, we’d rather earn your trust by solving your problems with honest and straightforward advice and hard work.
Seen from the front or back of the car Camber is measured negative when your wheels lean toward the car body and positive when they lean away. Camber affects tire wear, traction, steering control and works with your suspension to counter the effect of a body roll on high-speed turns or quick evasive maneuvers.
Like the casters on a shopping cart, the pivot angle of the steering mechanism compared to the ground can affect the feel of your steering wheel as well as your stability at high speeds. Looking at your wheel from the side, your caster angle should be 3- to 5-degrees “positive” (tilting forward) for most vehicles.
If you could look down through your car and see the angle of your tires compared to the car body, “Toe” is the angle from the front of the tire compared to the back. A few degrees “toe-in” towards the front is good but too much, and especially if it’s more on one side than the other, uneven tire wear can be extensive.