Expert Advice

What is checked during a tire alignment?

Car Repair Shops

A vehicle’s tires come out of alignment from sudden jarring of its suspension. This can occur when a motorist hits potholes or speed bumps with force or is involved in an accident. If you’ve experienced any of these issues, it’s a good idea to have your alignment checked. Sometimes tires become misaligned over time, rather than from a single event. As a driver, you may even notice a change over time in the way your vehicle handles. Common indications that a vehicle needs to have its tires aligned include:

  • Uneven tread wear on your tires
  • Vehicle pulls to the right or left when it is driving straight
  • Steering wheel vibrates or pulls off center on its own

Three aspects of tire alignment are considered during an inspection: camber, tow and caster.

  • Camber – The camber refers to the inward or outward angle of the tire, when viewed from the front. Negative camber is when the tire tilts inward from the center, creating more friction or wear on the inside of the tire. Positive camber is when the tire tilts outward, creating more friction on the outside of the tire.
  • Toe – This refers to the inward or outward angle of a tire when viewed from above. A good analogy is to look down at your feet and angle your toes inward. This would be referred to as toe-in alignment. If they are angled outward, it’s called toe-out alignment.
  • Caster – An ideal caster angle helps in steering and stability. When viewing the vehicle from the side, the caster refers to the angle of the steering axle as it connects to the wheel. A positive caster tilts toward the driver, while a negative caster angle tilts toward the front of the vehicle.

Car Repair Shops in Wilmington, NC

When our trained mechanics performs a tire alignment, they adjust the vehicle’s suspension. The suspension is the system that connects the wheels to the vehicle. When a vehicle’s tires are aligned properly, they perform better and last longer. Proper tire alignment also improves the overall handling of your vehicle.

O’Leary’s Automotive Repair is a leading automobile service center servicing the greater Wilmington area. With four convenient locations, we have mechanics throughout the greater Wilmington area who will service and repair your car the correct way, the first time. Please contact us if you’d like to learn more about our services.