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How do you know if tyres are properly aligned?

Tire alignment is an essential part of vehicle maintenance. It means that you can optimise the performance of the tyres on your vehicle, and improve the handling of the vehicle itself, at the same time.

This means that the set of Michelin primacy 3 ST tyres you have just invested in can be protected. It also means that you can make all of your journeys safer, be making sure the handling of your vehicle is as it should be.

Tyre alignment explained

The suspension is the part of your vehicle that connects it to its wheels. It’s the suspension that is adjusted when a tyre alignment takes places, and not the tyres themselves. The adjustment deals with the angles of the tyres on the vehicle and how this angle affects the contact of the tyres with the road.

Knowing when tyre alignment is necessary

There are a few signs that you should look out for, which may indicate that you should have a tyre alignment carried out.

  • Uneven wear on the tread of the tyres.
  • Pulling of your vehicle to the left or right when you drive.
  • The steering wheel of the vehicle not being centred when you drive.
  • The steering wheel of your vehicle shaking when you drive.

If you notice that you are experiencing any of these issues, you should have your vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic. They will usually look for three main things.

Camber

The mechanic will look at your vehicle from the front and check the inward and outward angles of the tyres. If there is too much tilt to the angle an adjustment will be necessary. The cause of the issue, such as bearings that are worn, also needs to be investigated.

Toe

Looking at your vehicle from above, the mechanic will examine the toe alignment. This is how much the tyres turn in or out. If they turn either inward or outward too much, the alignment will need to be adjusted.

Caster

The caster is to do with the steering axis of your vehicle. If the axis tilts too much one way or the other, it can have an adverse effect on how stable your car is and how it handles when you steer or turn a corner.

Why is tyre alignment so important?

If the tyre alignment of your vehicle is not correct the tread on your tyres will wear unevenly. If the toe alignment is not as it should be, you may notice feathering of the tyres. This means that one side of the tread is sharp and the other is smooth. If there is a problem with the camber alignment of your vehicle, you are likely to see a significant amount of wear on the outside or inside of the tread and not as much in the middle. This type of tread wear on a vehicle can be dangerous. It can also seriously reduce the lifetime of a set of tyres. This is why proper tyre alignment is so important.

Image: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57016633