We can fine-tune your car
If your car’s wheels are not aligned correctly, they could be causing premature wear on your tyres and suspension components. This will also cause problems with your car’s handling, performance and the overall safety of the vehicle. Simple things like bumping into a kerb or driving over a pothole can throw your wheels out of alignment. It’s important to get this fixed quickly before it leads to larger problems.Maintaining proper alignment is fundamental to preserving both your car’s safety and its tread life. Wheel alignments ensure that all four wheels are consistent with each other and are optimized for maximum contact with the surface of the road. The way a wheel is oriented on your car is broken down to three major components; camber, caster, and toe.
The most widely discussed and controversial of the three elements is camber. Camber angle is the measure in degrees of the difference between the wheels vertical alignment perpendicular to the surface. If a wheel is perfectly perpendicular to the surface, its camber would be 0 degrees. Camber is described as negative when the top of the tires begin to tilt inward towards the guard wells. Consequently, when the top of the tires begin to tilt away from the vehicle it is considered positive camber.
Negative camber is becoming increasingly more popular because of its visual appeal. The real advantages to negative camber are seen in the handling characteristics. An aggressive driver will enjoy the benefits of increased grip during heavy cornering with negative camber. During straight acceleration however, negative camber will reduce the contact surface between the tires and road surface.
Regrettably, negative camber generates what is referred to as camber thrust. When both tires are angled negatively they push against each other, which is fine as long as both tires are in contact with the road surface. When one tire loses grip, the other tire no longer has an opposing force being applied to it and as a result the vehicle is thrust towards the wheel with no traction. Zero camber will result in more even tire wear over time, but may rob performance during cornering. Ultimately, optimal camber will depend upon your driving style, vehicle weight and conditions the vehicle is being driven in.
Caster is a bit harder to conceptualize, but it’s defined as the angle created by the steering’s pivot point from the front to back of the vehicle. Caster is positive if the line is angled forward, and negative if backward.
Typically, positive caster will make the vehicle more stable at high speeds, and will increase tire lean when cornering. This can also increase steering effort as well.
Perhaps the easiest concept to visualize is toe. Toe represents the angle derived from pointing the tires inward or outward from a top-down view – much like looking down at your toes and angling them inward or outward.
Correct toe is paramount to even tread wear and extended tire life. If the tires are pointed inward or outward, they will scrub against the surface of the road and cause wear along the edges. Sometimes however, tread life can be sacrificed for performance or stability. However small adjustments to camber can reduce those sacrifices.
Positive toe occurs when the front of both tires begins to face each other. Positive toe permits both wheels to constantly generate force against one another, which reduces turning ability. However, positive toe creates straighter driving characteristics.
.Negative toe increases a cars cornering ability. When the vehicle begins to turn inward towards a corner, the inner wheel will be angled more aggressively. Since its turning radius is smaller than the outer wheel due to the angle, it will pull the car in that direction.
Negative toe decreases straight line stability as a result. Any slight change in direction will cause the car to hint towards one direction or the other.
Your Vehicles settings
Vehicles are designed with manufacturer’s settings for a reason. Countless hours of research and development go into designing suspension components and typically those numbers are the best to go with. Attempting to differ from the norm may result in dangerous conditions, especially for public road vehicles.
As a vehicle driver your needs and desires may differ from the norm. In this case, be sure to exercise caution when modifying your suspension and to consult professionals prior to any major modifications. Bear in mind the differing results caused by altering your camber, caster and toe, and to remember that performance often comes at the cost of economy.
The warning signs
If your car’s wheels are out of alignment, you could notice a slight steering wheel shimmy where the car feels as if it’s pulling to one side. Your tyres may squeal when turning and you could experience poor steering control. Even if your car appears to be running well, we recommend having your wheel alignment checked every 10,000km or 6 monthly (or if you recognise a problem) for maximum tyre life.
Our expert technicians can offer you a wheel alignment service that’s fast, efficient and will have you back on the road in no time.
Is your car due for a check-up?
If your car is due for a wheel alignment, then call us on 09 3025051 to book a suitable time.
Contrary to popular belief, tyre pressures is not determined by the type of tyre or its size but upon your vehicle’s load and driving application i.e. speed. To find out what your car’s tyre pressure should be, consult the manufacturers tyre placard usually found inside the driver’s door sill, glove box, fuel filler cap or under the bonnet.
The placard should also displays the manufacturers recommended tyre sizes.
Tyre pressures should be checked when the tyre is ‘cold’, as the tyre warms up the pressure increases. Try to ensure that pressure gauge is an accurate one,
Take the “cold” reading and check them against the recommended tyre pressures from your placard.
Heavy loads or towing puts an extra strain on your tyres. So if your vehicle is fully loaded with passengers and luggage, the general rule is to add 4psi.
Believe it or not, checking your tyre pressure can have a big impact on our environment. 20% of the fuel consumed by your vehicle can be attributed to rolling resistance from your tyres. An under-inflated tyre creates more rolling resistance and therefore more fuel consumption. By keeping your tyres inflated to their proper levels, you can help maximise your car’s fuel economy and minimise its impact on our environment. Most tyre manufacturers have started developing different rubber compounds with the aim of reducing rolling resistance. The key is to do this without sacrificing grip levels and consequently safety. Michelin has been at the forefront of this technology since its first ‘Energy’ tyres in 1992 and now with the “Total Performance’ range incorporating the fuel savings with very high performance levels.
Tyre rotation is vital to achieving even tread wear and long tread life. Rotation is necessary because of the uneven wear characteristics of each wheel position on the vehicle. A good example is Front Wheel Drive vehicles which places braking, steering and driving forces on the front axle tyres. Rear axle tyres only receive braking forces resulting in a much faster wear rate for the front axle tyres. Tyre rotation for these vehicles therefore becomes very important for optimum tyre life.
rotation should be undertaken every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres: Even if there is no sign of uneven wear!
We take care for your vehicle
The most immediate need when you have a flat tyre is to get back on the road. You will usually have to address this by removing the punctured tyre and fitting your spare, safely out of the way of any traffic.
However, it is critically important to organise for the punctured tyre to be repaired as soon as possible. This is especially the case if your vehicle’s spare tyre is a space saver (or speed limited).
A puncture can be anything that allows air to escape and causes the tyre to deflate. Punctures are usually caused by sharp objects like small nails and screws. They can also be caused by an impact with a kerb or other foreign objects.
The area of the tyre where the puncture occurs will determine if the tyre is repairable. Generally tyres with punctures in the tread area are repairable, as long as they are not too close to the sidewall or shoulder. Any damage to the sidewall plies or the bead area of a tyre is not repairable.
A puncture repair usually takes around 20 minutes to complete. It involves deflating and removing the flat tyre from the rim, assessing and repairing the puncture before re-fitting it to the rim and balancing wheel/tyre assembly. It is then fitted to your vehicle and your spare will be pressure checked and placed back into storage
If you have any questions regarding tyre repairs, please speak to one of our expert staff.
There are a range of Run Flat Tyres which are deemed not repairable by the tyre manufacturer. If you are unsure, please check your vehicle manual as to the specific manufacturer recommendations for your Run Flat Tyres.