When our car moved to one side and it is not properly checked or any abnormal vibration occurred during our drive then it is time to send for the alignment and balancing check to make everything in order again. Some will like to send the car for the alignment and balancing on 5000km or 10000km each or will like to make this thing during their car service time as some service center will also include the alignment and balancing in their service package too. But what is alignment and balancing and what makes it so important for a vehicle?
Basically, an alignment can also be called as tire alignment or wheel alignment where essentially is to adjust the vehicle suspension system as it is the one that connects the vehicle to the wheel. A car that had a good alignment will make the handling of the vehicle proper and also prevent the vehicle from moving to one side and at the some to prevent any strange vibration while driving the car at high speed. When we sent the car for alignment checking they are 3 things that technician or foreman will check. They are
A chamber means to check on inward or outward angle of the car tire when viewed from the front of the vehicle. If the inward or outward angle of the car tire have certain positive and negative then it may indicate an improper alignment and this situation also can contribute to the torn bearing, any flaw in joint of the suspension and much more.
If a chamber it to views the inward or outward from the front, the toe is to view the inward or outward from above. Basically, it is like getting a birds-eye view of the car tire.
This is all about the checking the steering balance, stability of the vehicle and cornering. When checking on this if they are positive, then the steering will tilt toward the driver and negative means the steering axis tilt toward the front of the vehicle.
Another check after the alignment testing is the balancing checking for the tire. The balancing as per its name is to check on weight imbalance in the tire wheel combination and the are 2 type of tire imbalance checking.
- Static (Single Plane)
This process is to check the balance of the vertical movement of the tire that if not improper will cause the vibration on the vehicle.
- Dynamic (Dual Plane)
This is to check on the vertical and the lateral movement on the car tire.
To do this balancing a special machine will be used by the tire shop or service center by mounting the tire in the center of the machine. The machine will spin the tire at a high speed to measure the tire/wheel combination and from measurement, the machine will signal on how much weight the foreman or technician must add to balance out the tire or add the weight needed in the certain area of the tire.
All this check is actually to prolong the tire life and also to avoid any improper wear that can occur. Basically, the are several types of improper tire wear that can happen if they are an improper balancing or wheel alignment.
- Centre Wear
This type of tire wear happens where the tire will wear on the center only. This happens due to overinflated tire. When the tire had been overinflated, the tire will bulge out in the center hence when the tire makes the contact with the road with bulges then this where the center wear will happen as the tire will wear excessively on the center.
- Shoulder Wear
Unlike center, this wear will happen when the tire is underinflated. When the tire is underinflated the whole tire will contact the road hence resulting in this type of wear.
- Camber Wear
Camber means on the how the tire tilts. A tire must not have little or no camber at all as the negative camber will result were the inner shoulder of the tire wear faster and it they are a positive camber then the tire shoulder will have a narrow strip of wear.
- Feathered Wear
Can also be called as feathering where it means the tire thread block will have rounded edge on one side and sharp edge on the other side. This wear will occur when they are high-speed cornering as when the driver did this the tire will be rubbed excessively due to this and this type of wear can also occur due to the misaligned wheel.
- Cupped Wear
Unknown to us, in each tire, they are some small coil spring between the frame and wheel where it will prevent the tire from bouncing continuously and give the tire sticking to the road feeling. If the coil been worn out, the tire will continue to bounce and will eliminate the sticking to the road feel. In this situation, this type of wear will happen where the bouncing will cause the rubber to be gauged from the tire. This wear can be caused due to unbalance tire in the wheel.
- Flat Spot
This type was also known as the braking skid wear when this happen when the drivers brake hard in an emergency that caused the tire to be rubbed excessively due to enormous friction that occur during this time. In this type of wear, the shoulder of the tire has a smooth spot and the center will be scuffed away due to this. Again, this caused by improper balancing on the tire.
- Toe Wear
Toe refers to the angle of the tire that are aligned. If the vehicle had a positive toe, then the front of the tire is angled inward and if they are negative then the tire is angled inward. The amount of the toe wear can increase if the wheel had been out of alignment and this also can result in the wear prematurely.
So, we had seen the purpose of the alignment, balancing and the abnormal wear that can occur if they are improper alignment or balancing on the tire. The alignment and balancing are essential for our car maintenance and whether we like it or not it is extremely important as this main purpose of this check to make sure of the tire is proper and the tire is the only part of the car that makes contact with the road.