Straighten up and drive right…

Crooked SteeringWOne of the tell-tale signs that your car’s wheels are misaligned is that you have a crooked steering wheel, even when you’re driving straight. But what causes this to happen and how can your AlignMyCar centre fix this?

When your car’s wheels are aligned, a measurement is taken of the vehicle’s thrust angle. This angle is important as it effectively tells us which direction the car is going to travel in, compared with the vehicle’s centreline (which is an imaginary line down the middle of the vehicle). You may have seen a car appear to ‘crab’ at an awkward angle down the road. This will be because the car has a high thrust angle. Therefore, it’s important for the car’s thrust angle to be adjusted to zero so that its direction of travel is the same as the vehicle’s centreline.
But how does this relate to my crooked steering wheel I hear you ask!

Well, nowadays, modern aligners measure and record the thrust line when they are calculating what adjustments need to be made to the vehicle’s geometry settings. As the thrust line provides a datum for measuring everything else, it’s important that this is calculated first.
In order to do this, it’s important that you use a workshop which has the correct equipment. A modern alignment system which measure all four wheels is essential. Older style ‘tracking’ systems which just measure the front axle simply won’t do.

StraightWhen the workshop starts any alignment adjustments on your car, it’s important that they start by making sure the steering wheel is centred and locked off. At this stage it’s not important if the front wheels are pointing dead straight or not as this will be corrected at a later stage.
The technician will then start by adjusting the car’s rear toe. In doing so, this will reduce the vehicle’s thrust angle as much as possible. The technician can then go on to adjust your car’s front geometry settings so that they are in line with the vehicle manufacturers recommended settings.
Once these settings have been correctly adjusted the alignment job is complete and you should get a coloured printout which confirms your car’s alignment is now correct. At this stage the technician will unclamp your steering wheel and you can be sure that when you’re now driving down a straight road, your steering wheel will be centred rather than at a crooked angle.

So, if you’re always having to steer to one side, even to remain straight, head on to your nearest AlignMyCar centre for a four wheel alignment check.

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