WHEEL ALIGNMENT 101

To answer this question, let’s start out by detailing what a tire alignment is. Tire alignments are not as well-known or understood as tire rotations. For this reason, people might confuse the two. For tire services in Bowie, MD, contact the Service Department at Nissan of Bowie.

In fact, a tire alignment doesn’t do anything to the tires or the wheels themselves. An alignment procedure will adjust the suspension and the angles at which the tires face and turn.

It is also not the same procedure as a tire balancing. Balancing refers to the fixing or compensation of any weight imbalances in your combination of tires and wheels. This requires your technician to mount your tires properly to the wheel and adjust their inflation based on the weight and other physical elements of your vehicle.

The idea of a wheel alignment is to make each tire line up evenly with the road on three different degrees of measurement, camber, toe, and caster.

Camber – the degree to which the top/bottom of the tire leans inward or outward from the perspective of the front or back of the vehicle. This can be caused by worn bearings, joints, and other elements of your suspension. It can also cause your vehicle to shake at different speeds depending on your misalignment.

Toe – the degree to which the tire faces inward or outward from the perspective of the top of your vehicle. Think, your toes pointing in or out when you’re looking down at them. As is easy to imagine, driving this way can cause very uneven wear on certain areas of your tires.

Caster – the angle or tilt of your wheel where it meets and is connected to your suspension as viewed from the side of your vehicle. Positive caster means your tire is aligned further inward toward the center of your vehicle. Negative is the opposite. A proper centerline caster will correct your steering, cornering, and overall stability.

You may be tempted to look at your wheels to try and gauge whether you are in need of an adjustment. While your beloved vehicle certainly notices and appreciates your concern, you are better off looking out for a few different symptoms which usually point to misalignment. These include uneven tread wear, the vibration of your steering wheel, the pulling of left to right by your vehicle, and an off-center steering wheel while driving straight.

Any of these signs should lead you to your service center or technician. Additionally, you will need to have properly aligned tires to pass your state inspection. Schedule a service appointment today at Nissan of Bowie in Bowie, MD.