Wheel Alignments in Kenner, LA

Wheel Alignments by CAM Automotive in Kenner, LA. Closeup image of a car with sensors on wheels for wheel alignment.

Car maintenance keeps your vehicle in good condition so that it lasts longer. 

Most people know that they have to change the oil and filter, get a tuneup, flush the fluids, and check the belts and hoses. But some do not realize the importance of rotating tires, checking the tires and suspension for problems with the alignment, or getting the alignment checked every so often.

CAMS Automotive in Kenner, LA, offers alignments and other maintenance services convenient for you. 

What is an Alignment?

During a wheel alignment, the mechanic checks the vehicle’s suspension components. The suspension gives you a smooth ride by absorbing bumps in the road. It also connects the wheels to the vehicle. 

Two types of alignments exist: 

  • two-wheel alignments 
  • four-wheel alignments

 

If your vehicle requires a four-wheel alignment, always go for that option. Most newer vehicles require four-wheel alignment. It doesn’t go well if you check just two wheels when you need all four checked. 

The Alignment Process at CAMS Automotive in Kenner, LA

Our auto techs at CAMS Automotive in Kenner, LA pulls the vehicle onto the alignment machine. This scans the vehicle to see what the alignment looks like. A trained alignment tech notes any issues and then adjusts the suspension to align the vehicle properly.

If any parts are broken, they must be replaced before the tech can make any adjustments. The adjustments are on the toe, camber, caster, and thrust. They refer to the angles of the tires

If your steering wheel is not lined up, adjusting the suspension should align your steering wheel unless something else is wrong.

What Happens When the Vehicle is Out of Alignment

If your vehicle is out of alignment, the steering could feel “loose,” the steering wheel might not be centered, and you’ll notice uneven wear on the tires.

Toe

The ultimate position of the tires is keeping them pointed as straight as possible. The toe measurement compensates for the different forces on the steering linkage, such as when you run over a bump. 

Most vehicles will have a bit of toe-in, though some front-wheel drive vehicles have a zero toe or a slight toe-out. Toe-in is positive toe, while toe-out is negative toe.

The measurement is the distance between the front and rear of the tires when looking down at them. To picture this, look down at your feet. Point your toes toward each other; this is toe-in. It’s a toe-out when your heels are closer together and your toes are farther apart.

If the toe values are equal, the vehicle is aligned. The steering wheel is centered, and the vehicle will travel straight down the road.

Ride height can affect the toe. When the right and left steering linkage and the suspension do not travel in the same path, you have a condition called bump steer. 

If the caster and camber measurements are out, it could affect the toe. A damaged steering linkage also affects the toe.

Camber

Stand in front of the vehicle. Draw an imaginary line from the ground up through the center of the tire. What you’ll see is the camber

When the camber is out, the top of the tire tilts in or out instead of standing vertical. However, if a tire is only one or two degrees out, you might not notice it.

The vehicle might pull to the right or left if the camber is out. Negative camber is when the top of the wheel tilts in toward the motor. Positive camber is when the top of the wheel tilts toward the fender. 

The vehicle always pulls toward the tire with the most positive camber. However, that does not mean the left tire is the only one with a problem if the vehicle pulls toward the left.

Caster

To picture the caster, look at the tire from the side. Draw an imaginary line straight up from the bottom of the tire to the top of the fender well. The steering axis should be straight up and down along the line. If the steering axis tilts toward the front, the caster is negative. If it tilts toward the rear, the caster is positive.

Caster allows for directional control and steering returnability. The upper and lower ball joints define the steering axis if your vehicle has a double wishbone suspension. If your vehicle has MacPherson struts, the upper strut bearing and the lower ball joints define the steering axis.

Conditions that affect the caster include:

  • Bent or tweaked frame
  • Ride height (if the front of the vehicle is higher or lower than the rear and vice versa)

 

If the vehicle pulls while driving, it pulls toward the tire with the most negative caster value.

Thrust

Thrust is the position of the rear tires. To imagine thrust, draw an imaginary line down the vehicle’s center. Now draw a line from the center of each rear tire to the front of the vehicle. The thrust angle is the point where the line crosses the line in the vehicle’s center. 

The thrust angle affects the steering wheel position. The steering wheel will be off-center if the thrust is off too much.

How Long Does it Take to Do Alignments in Kenner, LA?

An alignment could take up to two hours. However, if the suspension, steering bushing, track rod, or other suspension parts are worn or broken, it could take longer. 

At CAMS Automotive, we will notify you if we need to replace something to continue with the alignment. We cannot align a vehicle with worn or broken suspension parts. You would be wasting your money since the wheels will never line up.

Visit CAMS Automotive for Alignments in Kenner, LA

If you notice uneven wear on your tires, loose steering, or the steering wheel isn’t centered, you might have either alignment or suspension issues.

Contact CAMS Automotive for an appointment on our alignment machine to check the alignment and determine whether you have suspension problems.