Tyre & Alignment Professionals

01376 511177 Unit 6, Moss Road, Witham, Essex CM8 3UQ

01376 511177

The family run tyre team
with over 100 years experience
between them

wheel alignment

Vehicle on ramp being inspected

If your tyres are wearing unevenly, if your car is pulling or you have a crooked steering wheel, the chances are your car is suffering from misalignment. But you cannot always tell just by looking – so get it checked out.

Think of it this way. Driving a vehicle for 12,000 miles with a misalignment of only 0.34 degrees (0.17 inches) out of specification would be equivalent to dragging the tyres sideways for 68 miles!

Tyre-Smart use the new top of the range Hunter HawkEye Elite TD alignment system incorporating the steering angle sensor re-set system with fully Hunter trained technicians to accurately align vehicles from all manufacturers.

Hunter Engineering ProAlign Approved By

At Tyre-Smart we also specialise in aligning customers classic, race, lowered, custom, or drift cars.

We are able to accommodate the lowest of vehicles and can set the geometry to your own specs or advise with the best set up that we can offer to get the best handling for your vehicle.

But by far the biggest reason for bringing your vehicle to Tyre-Smart for alignment is the guys working on it for you.

Suburu racing care on ramp for wheel alignment
Car on ramp for wheel alignment

Their knowledge is unsurpassed and with modern vehicles geometry becoming so complicated, you can rest assured they will set your vehicle perfectly back to original manufacturers specifications or your own specs.

Our alignment technicians have been working with the the hunter alignment systems for decades and have a passion for setting vehicles up for their optimum performance and tyre wear.

STEERING ANGLE SENSORS RESET

Steering angle sensors calibration

Why does the SAS need to be calibrated or reset after a wheel alignment?

Because it is required by the car manufacturers.

Why is a steering system reset necessary?

A growing number of vehicle manufacturers require a reset to calibrate the on-board system sensors with the steering geometry of a newly aligned vehicle, ensuring the systems work as intended.

What can happen if a required steering system reset is not performed?

Depending on the vehicle, the consequences may vary from a dashboard warning light or steering wheel dithering (rocking side to side) to vehicle drift or pull conditions.

How long does it take to perform a steering system reset?

In a matter of minutes, a technician can reset the sensors of steering-related on-board systems and properly complete the alignment.

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CAR WHEELS ARE OUT OF ALIGNMENT?

A good question! it is not always obvious, especially if the misalignment is slight, but there are signs to look out for:

Uneven tyre wear on the fronts or the rears

If you can’t visibly see the wear, run your hands over the tyre and you can soon feel where the rubber has worn excessively, on the inside or outside edges. Warning – Be careful, in extreme cases of excessive wear fine wire may be protruding from the rubber.

The car pulls to the left and right

When driving along a straight flat road and you either need to compensate through the steering to keep the car driving straight the car drifts to the left or right under braking.

A crooked steering wheel

The steering wheel is not straight, even when driving straight

HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE ALIGNMENT BE CHECKED?

As a general rule it is wise to have your alignment checked every 12,000 – 15,000 miles or once a year.

However, it is also highly reccomended when:

  • You knowingly hit a kerb or pothole
  • New tyres are fitted
  • Steering and suspension components are replaced
  • The vehicle has been involved in any form of accident or collision

WHAT IS FOUR WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

Since the car was invented it has been important that all four wheels point in the same direction!

Over time as the car and its components have evolved, so has the way cars steering and suspension set up or geometry is measured.

The modern car is built for comfort, performance and handling. In order to achieve and maintain the best ride possible, the steering and suspension needs to be measured and adjusted within the motor manufacturer’s specifications. This can only be done by measuring all four wheels and having a proper full four wheel alignment measurement.

If only the fronts are set straight, through having a Tracking, two wheel alignment, or Toe & Go, and the rear wheels remain out of alignment (and not adjusted), your car could still suffer tyre wear, pulling and crooked steering wheel.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRACKING AND FOUR WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

Tayer

Tracking was born of a bygone era, when cars had very little or no adjustment. Any measurement and adjustment tended to be on the front wheels, for the ‘Toe’ angle only. Tracking on the fronts (sometimes called a ‘two wheel alignment’) does not take in account the direction in which the rear wheels are pointing. So if you have the fronts adjusted and set straight, if the rears are out of alignment, the car may pull and tyres could still wear.

In its original sense, Tracking uses gauges (usually the hang-on style) where the operator peers through a ‘scope’ or views a light/laser beam on a scale. This system does not allow for run out compensation (taking account for any errors in the wheel rim), so the reading result can only at best be approximate.

Four Wheel Alignment measures a minimum of 12 angles and compares them to the alignment data specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Wheel rim run-out compensation is taken into account, which gives accurate and repeatable readings. With such accurate readings, Four Wheel Alignment allows toe adjustments of individual wheels which ensure the steering wheel is set straight. Further adjustments of camber, caster and other angles(where necessary) can ensure optimum performance and savings.

On modern cars, tracking alone is unlikely to deliver complete alignment or complete customer satisfaction.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM A HUNTER FOUR WHEEL ALIGNMENT?

The centre will establish that the car is align able – i.e. a pre-alignment check. The detail of this check may be model specific, but would ensure that tyre pressures are checked, tyre wear highlighted any worn steering or suspension components are identified (Note 1). A standard job is considered as: A full four-wheel measurement and diagnosis of all 12 – 14 angles with the presentation of a ‘Before’ printout. Problem areas are then identified and highlighted with you, the customer.

In the majority of cases the adjustment of front individual toe and straightening the steering wheel (Note 2) is part of the standard alignment measurement. Further adjustment requirements / work will be discussed and additional costs agreed (i.e. amount per hour, or cost per camber adjustment etc.) to carry out the work and do the adjustments. After completion an ‘After’ adjustments printout will be presented.

Note 1: Recommendation – do not drive some distance to the Hunter Four Wheel Alignment Centre when you know that there are worn suspension parts present. Under this situation ring and discuss the position with the centre. It may be they are fully equipped to do these pre alignment repairs. It may be recommended that you get suspension remedial work (loose wheel bearings, worn anti-roll bar bushes, worn ball joints or track rod ends etc.) replaced locally first. Following this up with the a full four wheel alignment on the Hunter aligner.

Note 2: Where the car has the steering rack incorrectly connected to the steering column or the steering wheel has been removed and incorrectly positioned previously would involve an additional charge. Where the toe adjusters are not serviceable – i.e. corroded solid then new parts may need fitting – additional charge. Please note that although we endorse the Hunter Imaging System, we are not able to recommend alignment centres, only provide guidance on their locations. All centres are independently owned and operate to their own standards.

Elite

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE HUNTER PRINTOUT?

Hunter before and after printout

For each alignment check, you the customer should be presented with two printouts;

'BEFORE' – this printout shows the alignment readings of the vehicle straight ‘off the street’ no adjustments

'AFTER' – this printout shows the alignment readings, after adjustments have been made by the technician to get the alignment in line with the motor manufacturers specifications.

The Hunter alignment report / printout uses clear, easy to understand graphics.Each angle measured, such as Camber, Caster Toe, etc is represented by a box or bar with a black arrow ‘hovering’ above. The colour of the bar can either be:

RED – denoting that the angle is out of the manufacturer’s specification and therefore out of alignment,

or Green – denoting it is within the specification and therefore the alignment is OK. The black arrow indicates by how much the angle it is in or out of the motor manufacturers specification.

The exact angle measurement figures are displayed centrally in the coloured bar. The small figures in the top left and right of the bar, are the to and from tolerances of the motor manufacturer specifications.

TIP: It is worth keeping all your alignment reports with your car documentation, as when it comes to sell your car, you can show it has been regularly checked and that the car is in good condition.

WHEEL ALIGNMENT JARGON BUSTER

TOE

Toe is the angle of the wheels in relation to the vehicles centreline (an imaginary line straight down the centre of the vehicle, when viewed from above).

Just as the name suggests, imagine the pair of wheels (front or back wheels) as a pair of feet.

When you turn your toes inwards and your heals out, this is what is know as Toe-in . And yes, you’ve guessed it; when you turn your toes out and heels in, this is Toe-out.

When this happens to wheels, you end up wearing the edges of your tyres excessively:

Toe in or Positive Toe causes your car to wear the outside edges
Toe out or Negative Toe your car will wear the inside edges

INDIVIDUAL TOE

Individual toe is measured from the vehicle centre line. Individual toe can be thought of as a 'per wheel' value.

TOTAL TOE

Total Toe is the sum of two individual toe angle readings added together.

CAMBER

Think of Camber as the amount of ‘tilt’ of the wheel, one way or the other.

Positive Camber is when the top of the wheel leans away from the car
Negative Camber is when the wheel leans in at the top

The amount of tilt doesn’t have to be much and not always noticeable to the eye, but it is enough to cause undue tyre wear and make the car pull

CASTER

The easiest way to understand Caster is to look at a bike (when viewed sideways on). If you draw a line down from the centre point on the handlebars down the forks to the ground (on a car this would be the suspension strut), this indicates the 'pivot point'.

Then draw a second line vertical through the centre of the wheel and where this touches the ground shows the 'tyre contact point'.

The top angle that has been created is what is known as the Caster Angle.

If this top angle is reduced then stability is less, therefore it is important to get the Caster set to its optimum angle for the best possible control.

CENTRE LINE

Is literally just that! An imaginary line running down the centre of the car, from the front to the rear and equidistant from the sides.

THRUST ANGLE

Thrust angle is the direction the rear wheels are pointing in relation to the centre line. If the thrust angle is not zero the vehicle will ‘crab’ – move sideways from the back!

STEER AHEAD

This is simply to ensure the steering wheel is set straight when the vehicle is travelling along a straight and flat road