Pothole causes wheel alignment problem
One of today's jobs was a customer in West Chiltington who wanted me to swap over the summer tyres for winter tyres on his Audi A3. He does this every year as the roads around the area become very slippery over the winter months and he finds that the winter tyres offer far better grip and are then much safer.
Upon arrival the customer told me that he had hit a few potholes recently and that at the last service the mechanic had mentioned that his tracking looked like it would need correcting, as the steering wheel was on an angle when driving in a straight line.
I did a quick visual check of the front tyres and agreed that something looked wrong as there was excessive wear on the inside edges of the tyres. I said that I would fit the winter tyres, then check and adjust the tracking accordingly.
First job was to jack the car up and remove each wheel, taking it into the van, removing the old tyre and valve, before replacing the valve and fitting the winter tyres and inflating them to the correct pressures. I then balanced the wheels before refitting them to the car, torquing the wheel nuts as I go.
While the front wheels were off, I cleaned up and loosened the track rod nuts, ready for the alignment. Once all wheels were on the car, I took it for a quick test drive to settle the suspension before checking the alignment.
Back on the drive, I put steel dishes under the front wheels to allow them to move easily, clamped the steering wheel in a straight position, then put the Supertracker wheel alignment gauges on the car to check the existing alignment. It showed a total figure of -5, when it should have been +1.2 according to the manufacturers settings, this would explain the uneven wear.
Using spanners it was a case of adjusting the trackrods until the figures on the tracking gauges across the front of the car came to the correct readings, and at the same time aligning the rear figures to keep the car in a straight line. (Thrust angle). Once adjusted, I tightened all the nuts, removed the alignment equipment, and took the car for a test drive, which felt much better and the steering wheel was straight.
I finally took a payment from the customer using our onboard card reader, and sent his invoice through by email.
Wheel alignment is recommended every time you have new tyres fitted, if you hit a pothole/kerb, every 10'000 miles or once a year depending on how you drive, as wear and tear on the suspension will cause it to move out of tolerance.
Once a vehicle is correctly aligned it will handle better, tyres will wear evenly (lasting longer), suspension parts will wear better and you will save fuel.
Should you feel that you car pulls to one side, if the steering wheel is on an angle when driving in a straight line or if you have uneven tyre wear, then give us a call at Hometyre to have your vehicles tracking checked and adjusted.
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