Maintaining tire or wheel alignment on a vehicle is important. Doing so improves the lifespan of tires and helps wheels and steering systems function and perform optimally. Drivers may come to you in your career with vibrating cars or steering that is pulling to one side, which is often due to an alignment issue.
While there are some DIY techniques that vehicle owners sometimes use, wheel alignment should be done by a professional like yourself in order to ensure that the suspension is in its proper position and precise measurements are taken to correct the issue. Read on for some of the techniques involved in this process!
1. Four-Wheel Alignment by Professional Car Mechanics
Squaring the wheels of cars is done by raising the vehicle in the shop, then adjusting the suspension angles. These angles are categorized as toe, thrust, camber and caster, and reflect different directional planes. The measurements are specified in owner’s manuals, ensuring that the wheels and axles are properly positioned to function together.
Different types of suspension require specific alignment—if the suspension is independent, four-wheel alignment is necessary. For example, a four-wheel drive vehicle with independent front suspension will need both the front and rear axles to be aligned. In other cases, only the front end may need to be aligned with dependent suspensions, although these suspensions are less common with modern car manufacturers.
When wheels and axles are squared, they both move in the same direction and allow the car to roll and steer properly. As a car mechanic, you will have the tools and resources available to accurately measure proper angles.
2. A Thrust Angle Alignment Can Be Handy When You Become an Auto Mechanic
When only the front end of a vehicle needs to be aligned, this is referred to as a 2-wheel alignment or a front-end alignment. Sometimes, only the rear axle needs to be aligned. A thrust angle alignment is an adjustment to a car’s rear axle and wheels. It aligns them with the front axle and centre of the vehicle.
The thrust angle is found by looking at the rear axle relative to the centre line of the car. The centre line and axle should be perpendicular. On some cars without all-wheel or four-wheel drive, a thrust angle alignment may be the only thing that is required, similar to how front-end alignment is the only necessary job on some other vehicles.
3. Alignment Machines Make the Job Easier for Car Mechanics
Being able to use tools and equipment on the job when you become an auto mechanic helps you complete tasks efficiently and accurately. Instead of measuring by hand, an alignment machine makes the job of squaring wheels and axles easier for mechanics. The machine has clamps that attach to wheels, and the device is connected to a computer. Using this equipment, you can adjust until angles are perfect and the car can run as smoothly as possible.
The hoist that you will likely use to raise the vehicle is another helpful piece of equipment, rather than jacking up the car in a DIY fashion. Hoists give you full access to the bottom of the car and a better view of the suspension itself, which will help in case any repairs or replacements are needed.
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