Wheel Alignment – What is it and Why does it Matter?


May 17, 2022

Wheel Alignment – What is it and Why does it Matter?

Wheel Alignment aka Tyre Alignment

As a wheel spins on its axis, it is important that it does so freely and evenly.  There are several things that impact this, and wheel alignment is one of those. Not to be confused with wheel balancing, correct wheel alignment is fundamental to getting the most out of your tyres, and is an essential step in wheel and tyre care and maintenance.

All of the wheels of your vehicle should be operating at the same angle when compared. With frequent use, this angle can skew aka they become unaligned. 

General driving wear and tear, driving on uneven surfaces, and hitting potholes, speedbumps and gutters (kerbs) can all affect the alignment of your wheels.  When a tyre impacts an obstacle with force it can immediately cause your tyre to become misaligned.

Poor wheel alignment can have safety and performance consequences.

Implications of Improper Wheel Alignment

When wheels fall out of alignment, the safety of your vehicle is affected. It can cause your vehicle to pull to the left or right and also present as off-centre steering.  Additionally, the tread of your tyres can wear unevenly.  All of these issues affect your ability to properly control your vehicle, particularly in emergency situations where fast reaction time is essential for safety.

Poor wheel alignment can also result in extra stress on your steering, suspension and brakes reducing their life and increasing safety issues.

Unnecessary stress on vehicle components can also affect performance and therefore fuel economy.

Signs and Symptoms

There are some clear signs that will alert you to poor wheel alignment, as we touched on above.  Generally speaking, you can diagnose incorrect wheel alignment if your vehicle if displays the following signs:

  • Vehicle pulling to one side
  • Vibration of steering wheel
  • Steering wheel appearing to sit off-centre
  • Steering that feels “loose”
  • Uneven wear on tyres – particularly on individual tyres or on the sides of tyres
  • A steering wheel that does not return to centre when grip is released

Correcting Poor Wheel Alignment

When you have your wheel alignment professionally measured and corrected, the technician will be looking at the following:

Caster – measures the angle of a car’s steering axis – forward and backwards. A positive caster indicates that the steering axis is tilted backwards.  A negative caster indicates that the steering axis is tilted forwards.

Camber – When viewed from the vehicle’s front, this measures the inward or outward tilt/lean of your tyres. If they tilt inwards, it is called a “negative camber”.  If they lean outwards it is referred to as a “positive camber”.

Toe – when viewed from above the vehicle, the toe alignment indicates how far your tyres are pointing outward or inward. Toe settings vary depending upon if a vehicle is powered by front or rear wheel drive.

Thrust – the angle of the car’s rear wheels relative to the centre of the vehicle.

Ride Height – the distance between the bottom of the vehicle’s body and the road it is travelling on.

With so many precise measurements required to calculate and correct your car’s wheel alignment, it is essential that your equipment is up to the task.  By fitting out your workshop with the most appropriate tools and equipment, you increase efficiency, safety and productivity resulting in maximised ROI and more vehicles in the door!

Ranger (by Bendpak) offers premium CRT Wireless Wheel Aligners that are highly accurate, fast and simple to use.

Using advanced 8-CCD cameras and infrared light sources, the Ranger CRT Wireless Wheel Aligners (such as the 3DP4100R listed here)  set the benchmark when it comes to precision and accuracy.

Visit the product range section of our website to learn more about the wheel alignment machines on offer through Genesis Equipment.

Wheel alignment services go hand in hand with all wheel and tyre products, and services.  Of course it is essential to be able to check tyre tread too. Adding a wheel alignment machine or wheel service equipment to your workshop will elevate your business and encourage growth and customer loyalty.

Call us today to discuss your needs.


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