What is Wheel Alignment and Why Is it Needed?

When we go in for an annual checkup, our doctors usually have a list of things to check. Same goes for a vehicle. Vehicles need routine maintenance to keep them performing their best, this includes wheel alignment.  

What Is Wheel Alignment? 

Wheel Alignment is in reference to the vehicle’s suspension and ultimately where your wheels are pointed. There are four settings that techs can adjust to align your wheels: 

  • Caster 
  • Camber 
  • Toe 
  • Ride Height 

Why and When Should I Align my Wheels? 

When a vehicle gets out of alignment, whether it’s from usual wear and tear, or fender bender, it can cause the tires to wear unevenly and even damage to the vehicle’s body. Uneven tire wear will lessen the life of the tires and disadvantage the tire’s grip to the road.  

An indicator of misalignment is when the steering wheel won’t sit center when the vehicle is pointed straight forward. The steering wheel is directly connected to your alignment of your front tires and will be a tell-tale sign that something is off.

The first step to fixing a misaligned wheel is our techs will run a computerized alignment check on specialized equipment. Click here to schedule service if you suspect your wheels may be misaligned. The next step is realigning the wheels based on the four settings.


Caster is in reference to the steering axis, which supports the wheel and tire assembly. The caster can be negative, centered, or positive. A properly aligned caster gives you high-speed stability and controlled steering.  

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Camber is whether the tire is tilting inwards or outwards when view from the front of the vehicle. Negative camber refers to a tire tilted in, while positive camber refers to a tire tilted out. This adjustment can maximize the tire-to-road contact, and account for changes in force as a vehicle turns. While it’s recommended that you should keep your tires from tilting, tilting the tires a certain way can be advantageous in motor sports.  

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Toe describes the relationship between the front tires and the rear tires, viewed from above. The front of the tire can be either closer or farther from each other. A front wheel drive (FWD) vehicle requires a compensating toe-out setting on the front axle, since the front wheels pull toward each other as the vehicle moves. A rear wheel drive (RWD) vehicle can have a toe-in setting on the front axle, since these wheels pull away from each other during acceleration. 

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Ride Height: 

Ride height is pretty self-explanatory, it’s the distance between the tires and the vehicle body. Lo’ riders and lifted trucks require an alignment check after they’ve been customized.  

If you’re concerned about your vehicle’s alignment, come see us at Orleans Honda and we’ll make sure your vehicle is in tip top shape and ready for the road ahead.