For proper handling and driveability of a car, wheel alignment and balancing is an inevitablepart. You can face a number of issues if your wheel alignment goes haywire. We will look at those soon.
What is wheel alignment and wheel balancing?
All four wheelers should undergo wheel adjustment after being driven a certain distance. What is wheel alignment and what will happen if you don’t do it? Let’s explore:
Your wheelsmay seem straight but surprisingly, each manufacturer predefined an angle for each wheel. There are three different types of angles which can be seen and those are:
The camber angle is perfectly visible when viewed from the front of the car. This angle can either be positive or negative. A negative angle camber can be helpful in cornering. Le us see what if we have zero camber angle.
A centripetalforce is required for the car to corner. This centripetal force comes from the frictional force between the tyre and the road. The outer wheels have higher frictional force than the inner wheels. The reason is simple. The outer wheels have higher normal force.
When cornering, the tyres will be deformed. A negative angle balances the deformation of tyres of the outer wheels.
The next important angle of an automobile is the caster angle. In the steering mechanism, the wheels turn around a steering axis. This steering axis is never vertical in practical practice. This inclination in the steering axis is called the caster angle.
It is quite a vital part of the steering wheel. You know that the steering wheel returns to the center after you rotate it. This returnability is created by the caster angle. Hence, if your steering wheel is not returning back to the center then you should get your caster angle fixed.
The toe is the most sensitive of all the angles. When you look from above, this angle is clear. The angles can be toe out or toe in.
Ideally, a zero toe angle will give minimum wear to the tyres. However, as you drive, the steering wheel goes into unintentional movements. These unintentional movements should not affect the straight-line motion of the car.
In zero toe angle, these unintentional movements will hamper the straight-line. That is why it is not klept ero even though your tyres may suffer more wear and tear.
Problems due to bad wheel alignment
· Car pulls to one side
If your car feels heavy on one side while steering then it is a symptom that your wheels are not aligned properly.
· Uneven steering wheel
When you are driving in a straight line then the emblem on the steering wheel should remain at the center. If the emblem is turned towards any angle then the steering wheel is uneven.
· Loose steering
Badly aligned wheels can also give you loose steering which can be dangerous. Loose steering will result in delayed response and can lead to accidents.
· Steering wheel vibrates
While some people may say that your steering wheel is vibrating due to bad roads, it is not so. In no case your steering wheel should vibrate and if it is vibrating then get your wheels aligned.
· Uneven wear of tyre
If one side of your tyre is wearing too fast then it can imply a bad alignment of the wheels.
Wheel balancing means the weight of tyre should be equally distributed along the circumference of the wheel. If you purchase new tyre or alloy wheels then there will be slight 5-10 grams of difference and wheel balancing is done to address that difference.
Car wheel balancing is done by a computer system so that accurate balancing can be done. Motorcycle wheel balancing, however, is done manually.
Car or steering wobbling can also be caused if your tyres are old or the rim of the wheel is damaged. So, make sure to check for these too. You should go for wheel balancing when your tyres are new.
Problems you will face if the wheels are not balanced
· The steering wheel of your car will wobble. This problem becomes more obvious when you are driving at speeds of 100-120 kmph.
· The place where the wheel is heavy will wobble and this will hamper the driving experience.
· This can affect the braking system
· Also the suspension system will be compromised.
Difference between wheel alignment and wheel balancing:
Wheel alignment and wheel balancing are different things. In wheel alignment, wheels are aligned with the car. Whereas, wheel balancing is done on an individual wheel by mounting it in a balancer.
Wheel balancing is done by adding small weights on the wheel’s metal part. And how much weight is needed, is determined by the computer system.
That was all regarding the necessity of getting wheel alignment and balancing done. You may want to add the best car accessories to your car for added functionality and visual aesthetic of your car.