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.

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