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OUR BLOG

10/11/2016

Understanding What your Wheel Alignment Is All About

Your car is an incredible piece of technology that is in many ways the reason for the economic success of the Western world - before the car was invented, very few people traveled daily for work and those that did had to cover large distances in inefficient and uncomfortable modes of transport. Our vehicles are extremely complex pieces of machinery that require regular maintenance to keep them in optimum condition, but do we really understand how they work? In this blog, your local AMSOIL Dealer - All Service Oil would like to focus on an area of car maintenance that many car owners admit to not fully understanding - Wheel Alignment. Maintaining wheel alignment is essential for reducing the frequency of which you have to change your tires, preserving tread and optimizing fuel efficiency. Proper wheel alignment ensures that the weight of your vehicle is spread evenly over all four wheels and that the weight supported by each wheel is distributed evenly across its surface. This means that wear is minimized and handling is sharpened. Optimal wheel alignment leads to improved performance and increased fuel efficiency. To really get the most out of your vehicle, and experience performance like never before, why not try upgrading to a synthetic motor oil? Call your local AMSOIL Dealer - All Service Oil, today at 763 257 3130, to find out more about the many benefits of upgrading to a synthetic motor oil. The orientation of each wheel in relation to the body of the car can be described using three words - Camber, Caster, and Toe.

Camber

Camber is the name for the perpendicular orientation of the wheel to the surface. This measure is the amount of difference in degrees from perfectly perpendicular (0 degrees). If the top of the wheel is closer to the body of the car, i.e. leaning inwards, this is known as negative camber. Conversely, when the bottom of the wheel is closer to the body of the car i.e leaning outwards, this is called positive camber. Negative camber means better handling at speeds and around corners, so it is favored by racing drivers. However, a high negative camber reduces that contact surface area between the tire and the road, making accidents more likely during unfavorable weather conditions. Negative camber decreases stability and is not advisable. A tire that is perfectly perpendicular  (zero camber) will suffer less wear over time. However, performance when cornering will be reduced. The ideal camber for your tire will depend on your vehicle and the conditions in which you drive it.

Caster

Caster is the name for the angle made by the pivot point of the steering when looking from the front to the back of the vehicle. This is classed as either positive (forward) or negative (backward). Almost all commercial cars have a safety feature known as cross-caster. This is designed so that the wheels have a natural tendency to roll towards the right. Therefore, if a driver were to lose consciousness, the vehicle would drift towards the side of the road rather than into oncoming traffic. It is not advisable to alter the caster of your vehicle without consulting a mechanic as your risk tampering with this sophisticated safety feature.

Toe

Toe is the angle created by the wheels when taking a bird’s eye view of the car. Just like looking down at your feet to see if they are angled in or out. The ‘straighter’ that the wheels are, the more even wear will be, and the longer the tires will last. However, angling tires in or out also affect performance. If the tires turn in towards each other, this is ‘positive toe’. As you can imagine, this reduces cornering ability but increases stability. On the other hand, angling the tires out (negative toe) increases handling and cornering, but decreases straight line stability. So, there you have it - wheel alignment explained. When designing a vehicle, the engineers decide how to set each of these parameters - Camber, Caster and Toe, after conducting a large amount of research and development. When re-aligning your wheels, you should take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic, or follow the specifications in your owner’s manual to ensure maximum tire longevity and an optimal balance of handling versus stability.

Synthetic Oil Change in Ham Lake

If you really want to maximize your vehicle’s performance, it’s time to upgrade to a superior-quality synthetic motor oil. Speak to your local AMSOIL Dealer - All Service Oil, today at 763 257 3130, to find out about their great range of available products.
CONTACT

 (763) 257-3130


 1830 175th Lane NE 
Ham Lake, MN 55304 
United States
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