What You Need to Know About Steering Wheel Alignment

Jul 26,2023
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Does steering wheel need alignment?

Are you wondering "Does steering wheel need alignment?" this question? Today, we will introduce the basic knowledge of the "steering wheel alignment" topic.

In fact, technically speaking, the steering wheel itself does not need to be aligned. The term "steering wheel alignment" generally refers to the entire process of wheel alignment.

What is steering wheel alignment?

Steering wheel alignment is also called wheel alignment in fact. It involves aligning the car's wheels in such a way that they are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground.

The process of steering wheel alignment is mainly to adjust these three places: toe-in, camber, and caster.

Toe-in: Toe-in alignment refers to the angle of the tire relative to the centerline of the vehicle when viewed from above. If the tire is slightly inward or outward, it is called toe-in or toe-out respectively. Improper toe-in alignment can cause rapid tire wear and affect vehicle stability and steering response.

Camber: Camber is the vertical inclination of the wheel when viewed from the front of the vehicle.  If the top of the wheel slopes inward, it is called negative camber; if the top slopes outward, it is called positive camber. Incorrect camber alignment can cause uneven tire wear and handling problems.

Caster: When viewed from the side of the vehicle, the caster denotes the angle of the steering axis.  It helps with stability, straight-line tracking, and the ability of the steering wheel to return to the center position after cornering. Positive caster enhances these characteristics.

In the following cases, your car may need wheel alignment:

① Steering wheel bending: If the car finds that the steering wheel is off-center during straight-line driving, it may need to be aligned.

② Handling problems: Poor wheel alignment will affect the handling of the vehicle, causing it to be unstable or unresponsive.

③ Uneven tire wear: If the inner or outer edge of the tire wears unevenly, it may be a sign of misalignment.

④ The vehicle drifts or pulls to one side: When driving on a flat road if the vehicle drifts or pulls to one side without steering wheel input, it may be caused by misalignment.

How to fix steering wheel alignment

Fixing steering wheel alignment requires specialized equipment, and we recommend finding a professionally trained mechanic or a professional auto service center to get it done. But if you suspect that your vehicle's steering wheel alignment is turned off, here are steps you can take:

① Check the tires: Check the tires for uneven wear, especially if there are signs of excessive wear on the inner or outer edges of the tires.

② Test drive: Test drive on a straight and flat road, observe and pay attention to whether the steering wheel of the vehicle is eccentric.

③ Find a reliable tire service center: Look for an auto service center with a good reputation and experienced technology in wheel alignment.

Regularly maintaining proper wheel alignment can extend the life of your tires, improve fuel efficiency, and provide better handling and safety while driving. We recommend checking the alignment at least once a year, or whenever you notice any signs of misalignment. Many people may worry about the cost of steering wheel alignment. When estimating costs, here are some points to consider:

① Vehicle type: For large vehicles such as trucks, SUVs or luxury cars, the alignment process may require more time and effort, thus resulting in higher costs.

② Additional alignment adjustments: For more extensive alignment adjustments, the cost may be higher.

③ Geographic location: The cost of living and business operating expenses will vary depending on the environment, and the service cost of wheel alignment will also vary accordingly.

To find out exactly how much a steering wheel alignment will cost, it's best to contact your local auto service center or tire shop and request a quote based on your vehicle's make and model.  Also, ask about any package deals, warranties or discounts they might offer. Remember, investing in proper wheel alignment can save you money in the long run by preventing premature tire wear and potential suspension problems.


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