Does your car need alignment? Yes!
Correct wheel alignment is so important that we recommend it is checked every six months or 6,000 miles. With over 40% of cars on UK roads carrying damaged suspension, NOW is the right time to have yours checked. (Source: AA figures)
Reduce tyre wear and improve handling
Many alignment centres only “do the tracking” – making sure the front wheels are parallel. Modern cars can have all four wheels adjusted, so "doing the tracking" is only half the job. A four wheel alignment inspection will also act as a health check for your car’s suspension, so it should be part of your regular service schedule. A comprehensive four wheel alignment check will reduce tyre wear and improve your car's handling.
Could Your Car Need Alignment?
Approximately 40% of cars on the road are carrying suspension damage that requires rectification (source: The AA, 2017). With 30.9 million licenced cars, that's over 12 million damaged cars and yours could be one of them!
In the three months to March 2021, the RAC attended a record-busting 4,694 breakdowns caused by pothole damage - was your car one of them? Or have you received damage without realising it? A recent check in a supermarket car park in a typical town and found that 8 out of 10 cars needed alignment. Remember, "alignment" covers more than just "tracking", there's camber, caster, steering angle - so many more parameters than the old "tracking gauges" can cover.
Poor wheel alignment will result if poor handling, increased tyre wear and can cause an accident.
Our Damaged Roads
According to the RAC report (April 2021), our roads "resemble the surface of the moon", despite a claim from the Local Government Association that they are repairing a pothole every 19 seconds .
A report from2015 highlights compensation claims for vehicle damage or personal injury rising at 20% per year. (Source: Asphalt Industry Alliance) More recently, potholes.co.uk reports that suspension problems due to potholes is costing UK motorists an estimated £2.8 billion per year.
This danger is not going to go away. In March 2021 the Asphalt Industry Alliance estimated it would cost £10 billion spent over a decade to rid our roads of the backlog. Ongoing road damage due to heavy traffic, poor weather conditions compounds the problem.
What Does This Matter?
Even undamaged suspension needs regular maintenance, consider the following facts:
- A wheel that is just 2mm out of alignment is equivalent to dragging the tyre sideways for 24 feet per mile (source: The Tire Business)
- Most "laser" or "manual" aligners are accurate to 1mm (or 12 feet scrub per mile) - a proper CCD or 3D aligner as used at an Absolute Alignment Approved Centre is accurate to 0.1mm!
- Cars with incorrect wheel alignment can lose as much as 7% of fuel efficiency (source U.S. EPA) That could be £170 per year for an average 12,000 mile driver
- 24% of MOT failures are due to tyre-related faults caused by suspension or steering problems. These require alignment after repair – that’s over 2.7 million cars failing their MOT needlessly!
If you suffer from poor wheel alignment (often known as tracking) or other suspension problems such as poor handling or badly worn tyres get in touch with us now and book your car in for a free four wheel alignment check or ask one of our team the next time it is in with us for a service.
What are we looking for? Jargon Buster!
Our experts will be checking the following factors and more:
- Toe - the traditional "tracking" of the car. Nominally all wheels run parallel but age, wear and tear or damage can make one or both wheels of an axle point "in" or "out" of the centre line of the car. Either can cause excessive tyre wear.
- Camber - the inwards/outwards angle at which the tyre sits on the road in comparison to the vertical. This dictates the amount of rubber actually touching the tarmac, and can make a big difference to your car's handling.
- Caster - this is the angle at which the centreline of the wheel hub assembly interacts with the road, and affects the stability of the car. In essence it dictates how nimble the car is if you need to change direction - for example when approaching a corner, at a roundabout or in an emergency.
- Thrust Angle - one of the most important measurements in these days of ADAS. It is the angle of the rear wheels compared to the nominal centre line of the car, and if it is wrong it will result in the back bring slightly out of line with the front as the car drives down the road. This is called "crabbing" and any car with this tendency will have strange handling. The latest Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as adaptive cruise control, lane change warnings and sleep sensors rely on the thrust angle being spot on, so this is a vital setting.
- Steering Axis Inclination (SAI) - similar to camber/caster but records the relative position of the actual suspension components rather than just the wheels.
All these measurements and more are taken instantaneously by our wheel alignment equipment. A check that in the old days took some time is now completed much faster! If your car is within tolerance, then you'll be on your way again at once; if it's not as per specification our team will discuss what is needed to rectify the error and make your car safe again.
It's important to remember that not all cars are set exactly the same. Our wheel alignment equipment has access to a regularly-updated database of over 25,000 vehicles. Don't leave it to chance, get your alignment regularly checked – maybe when you bring your car in for a service? Remember, there is no charge to have it checked.
We're often asked - why Bluetooth alignment?
In the old days laser alignment was the state of the art equipment, and that worked on an accuracy of 1mm, Our alignment heads connect to the computer via Bluetooth, and are accurate to 0.1mm - that's why the industry is switching to new tech in droves. And it's so much more than just "doing the tracking" which works on the front axle only - modern cars are fully adjustable all round, so four wheel alignment is the only way forward.
Prices (by appointment only):
Four Wheel Alignment check and report – Free of charge
Front Toe Adjustment (tracking)- £45 +VAT
Additional adjustments - £25 +VAT per adjustment
Any additional labour required to achieve the desired geometry (seized components etc) may be subject to additional charge.