What All Those Alignment Terms Really Mean

If you are taking your vehicle in to get the tires aligned for the first time, make sure that you brush up on your tire alignment lingo. This will help you understand the condition your car's alignment is in, and what your mechanic did to fix it.

The Basics Of Alignment

An alignment is a process where the wheels on your vehicle are measured and adjusted in such a manner to ensure that the wear on your tires will be reduced as much as possible. That is not the only benefit of having your wheels aligned though. Having your wheels aligned will also improve and steady the handling on your vehicle; it should be easier to steer and drive straight when the alignment on your vehicle is effective. Additionally, when your vehicle's tires are aligned correctly, you should be able to obtain better fuel efficiency.

When you need to have your tires aligned, your mechanic will let you know the state that your alignment was in before and after. Here is what the terms your mechanic uses mean.

Incorrect Camber

Camber refers to the way in which your tires are orientated in a vertical fashion. There are three different types of camber: negative, positive, and correct camber.

Negative Camber: Negative camber is when the tires on your vehicle tilt inward on their vertical axis.

Positive Camber: Positive camber is when the tires on your vehicle tilt outward on their vertical axis.

Correct Camber: Correct camber is when your vehicle's tires are orientated straight up and down.

Correct camber is the measurement that you want your tires to have. When your tires have the correct camber, just the right amount of your tires' tread is touching the road. This helps reduce the wear on your tires and helps to ensure that you are able to turn and brake correctly.

Toe Position

The toe position on your vehicle refers to the direction that the front of your tires are pointing.

            Toe-In: When your vehicle's tires are tiled and pointed inward, they are described as being toe-in.

            Toe-Out: When your vehicle's tires are titled and pointed outward, they are described as being toe-out.

You do not want your tires to be either toe-in or toe-out; when they are in either of these conditions, it can cause your steering to respond in unpredictable ways and it can also cause your tires to wear out and lose tread at an accelerated rate.

If you have any questions about the terminology that your mechanic uses when explaining to you the shape your vehicle's alignment was in, and what they did to correct it, be sure to ask them to explain and elaborate further. Understanding what was fixed on your vehicle will help. Contact a company like D Wells Automotive Service for more information.