Wheels & Tyres
Incorrect alignment can result in rapid irregular tyre wear and can even affect the handling and safety of the vehicle.
Wheel alignment can be affected by driving against a kerb, hitting a pothole in the road or by excessive wear to steering or suspension components. Alignment of wheels and tyres to the specification required by your vehicle is an important way to guarantee a smooth ride and to get the most out of your tyres.
The direction and angle at which tyres are set are both important. Wheel alignment or ‘tracking’ involves checking the direction and angle against vehicle manufacturers’ specifications. These are often described as toe in, toe out, positive camber or negative camber.
“Toe” refers to whether the front of the tyres are closer or further apart than the rear of the tyres. Different types of vehicles need different toe settings to allow for the way that wheels pull either towards each other or apart.
“Camber” is the inward or outward tilt of a tyre. The camber is set by the vehicle manufacturer, and can be affected by potholes in the road and may need to be adjusted periodically.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for unusual wear on your tyres, such as premature wear on the inside or outside shoulder, which could be caused by an incorrect camber setting.
Why Four wheel Alignment ?
Reduced tyre Wear
Improper alignment is a major cause of premature tyre wear. Over the years, a properly aligned vehicle can add thousands of miles to tyre life.
Better Fuel Mileage
Fuel mileage increases as rolling resistance decreases. Total alignment sets all four wheel parallel which, along with proper inflation, minimizes rolling resistance.
Does your car pull to one side? Does the steering wheel vibrate? Do you constantly have to move the steering wheel to keep your car traveling straight ahead? Many handling problems can be corrected by total alignment. With all the system components aligned properly, road shock is more efficiently absorbed for a smoother ride.
A suspension system inspection is part of our alignment procedure. This allows us to spot worn parts before they cause costly problems.
Repairing a tyre is not as straightforward as you first might think.
Tyre repairs are covered by a British Standard — BSAU159f:1990 — which splits repairs into two categories – minor repairs and major repairs. The British Standard also defines limits to the location, size and number of repairs that can be carried out and makes recommendations also on the repair materials to be used.
A tyre must always be checked thoroughly before it is repaired. If the tyre displays any of the following, it should not be repaired;
- Illegal tread depth (below 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the tyre tread throughout the entire circumference)
- Run flat damage – breakdown of the tyre’s structural integrity
- Secondary damage – caused by the injuring object
- Ageing/deterioration of tyre rubber
- Bead damage
- Exposed cords
- Faulty/poor previous repairs
Wheels that are not balanced or are out of balance generally produce a vibration that is uncomfortable to drive in and results in premature wearing of suspension and steering components, rotating parts and tyres.
Correctly balanced wheels help to eliminate vibration and avoid premature wear caused by an imbalance in the rotating wheel and tyre assembly.
The first sign that your wheels may be out of balance is when your steering wheel starts to wobble above a certain speed. The light weight of modern cars means that they don’t dampen down the vibrations caused by spinning wheels in the way that older, heavier vehicles could.
A driver may not always sense an imbalance at the steering wheel. It could be present with but dampened by the vehicle weight. This is why balancing is equally important for both front and rear wheels.
Wheels are balanced on a wheel balancing machine. The machine rotates the tyre and wheel assembly and automatically calculates the weight and location of the balance counter weight.
As a result of wheel balancing, you should notice a smoother ride and better wear from your tyres, again saving you time and money.
How can I tell when my tyres need changing?
One sign that your tyres need changing is noticing a deterioration in performance. For example, your car does not handle or grip the road as well in poor weather conditions as it normally does, or it takes longer to stop when you apply the brakes.
The fact that tyres wear gradually can make it difficult to identify the reduction in performance, so it’s best to have them checked regularly and preferably by an expert. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the tread on your tyres is not worn beyond the legal minimum limit of 1.6 millimetres.
To make this easier to identify, tyre manufacturers mould tread wear indicators (T.W.I) into the design of the tyres tread pattern usually at a tread level of 1.6mm. As soon as the tread is worn to the height of the tread wear indicator, the tyre has reached the legal minimum tread depth and you should replace the tyre as soon as possible.
You should also be aware that there are many different reasons for tyre wear. Your tyres don’t just get worn through age and use, but through emergency braking, under-inflation or over-inflation. And if your wheels are misaligned, one edge of the tyre can wear more rapidly than the other edge.
We recommend a weekly walk around the car to check the tread, look for bulges or wear and to check tyre pressures everytime you fill the tank.