Diagnosing chassis alignment complaints

Diagnosing chassis alignment complaints

When it comes to chassis alignment, there are so many factors that can throw things off, like angles, electronics or even the tires.

When it comes to dealing with a customer’s chassis or steering issues, chassis alignment is like examining a work of art. You know, like those paintings that make you scratch your head and go, “What does it all mean?” The same goes for chassis alignment. There are so many factors that can throw things off, like angles, electronics or even the tires.

The alignment bay is like a giant scan tool, but instead of scanning for codes, it’s scanning for angle data from the vehicle. One important angle it scans for is camber. It can mess with handling and cause the car to pull to one side, so it’s crucial to compare the camber on both sides. If there’s a difference of more than half a degree, there’s likely a steering pull.

You also need to pay attention to the cross-camber angle. If the camber is off on one side, it could mean damage to the spindle, control arm or strut. On the flip side, if the crossmember decides to shift, it’ll mess with the camber on both sides.

As for the caster, when you look at the steering axis from the side, you’ll either see a negative or positive tilt. It’s measured in degrees from an imaginary line perpendicular to the road. Zero caster means the line is straight up and down and when the wheels turn, they pivot on this line. However, if the line is tilted to the rear, the wheels start tilting when turning which helps with cornering by shifting the weight to the outer edge of the inner tire and the inner edge of the outer tire.

Proper wheel alignment is not just important for safety, it’s also a money-saver for customers. For example, if your customers drive 12,000 miles with a toe misalignment of only 3/16 inches, that’s like dragging their tires sideways for 68 miles. Make sure to remind your customers to follow your wheel alignment recommendations.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tire, service and shop operations videos.

You May Also Like

How to handle false ADAS activation

Many false activations are focused on one malfunctioning sensor. However, with ADAS, the cause of a false activation is likely more mechanical.


Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) have evolved from active cruise control to autonomous driving controls since these features first came to the market in 2006. If you’re the age of the average driver, 47, you’ve seen a lot of changes to multiple technology systems within your vehicle. One thing that has remained consistent through the years is that customers complain that the vehicle or technology did something unexpected – like a false activation light. Many false activation scenarios are focused on one malfunctioning sensor. However, with ADAS, the cause of a false activation is likely more mechanical. Let’s talk about why that is.

Navigating the challenges of performing alignments

By addressing pricing obstacles and communicating the value of your service, you can enhance profitability and retain customer trust.

The benefits of regular TPMS checks

Regular TPMS checks for your customers can limit tire wear, protect suspension parts and even reduce fuel costs.

What tire wear can tell you about ride control

Let’s go over some common tire wear conditions and what they could indicate regarding the vehicle’s ride-control components’ health.

Don’t estimate when it comes to parking brake adjustments

Let’s discuss a couple of different components of parking brakes to find out the best practices for adjusting them.

Other Posts
TEXA runs car diagnostic tool promotion

The promotion is active through Aug. 31.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Formula E tires

Learn how tire technology affects the highest level of all-electric racing from three different perspectives: The president of Hankook Tire North America, a tire engineer, and a Formula E driver.

The future legacy of the automotive aftermarket

Travel a new Road to AAPEX this season.

Optimism emerges in 2024 for U.S. OTR tire demand

This year, the industry is being driven by infrastructure spending and housing development.