When somebody needs an alignment, they visit a chiropractor. When vehicles need an alignment, motorists in the Louisville, KY and nearby communities rely on the auto mechanics Tony’s Brake & Alignment to remedy all of the auto repair aches and pains. Getting a wheel alignment at Tony’s Brake & Alignment is one of many specialty auto repair services the shop’s auto mechanics have excelled at for three generations.
When it comes to alignment measurements, think of Goldilocks visiting her chiropractor: Too much or too little aren’t desirable measurements, but somewhere in the middle is just right. As your local NAPA AutoCare Center and Michelin Alliance Dealer, Tony’s Brake & Alignment knows what’s just right. That’s our job; we do it every day.
Many call this service a “wheel alignment,” but that’s a misnomer. The process is actually adjustment of your vehicle’s suspension, which in this case connects your vehicle to its wheels, again for efficient and least costly mobility, much like how adjusting your backbone to your appendages optimizes movement. Specifically, an expert alignment properly adjusts the angle between your vehicle’s wheels to the suspension, so that tires wear unevenly and don’t have to be replaced prematurely. It also prevents your vehicle from pulling to one side or the other, or steering erratically when traveling down the road.
And unlike automobiles of the past, which only needed a two-wheel front-end alignment, many modern vehicles — not just 4X4s — require a four-wheel alignment. With a two- or front-wheel alignment the two front wheels are adjusted so that they both point in the same direction. With a four-wheel alignment, they also adjust the back wheels to be true with the front wheels when they are pointed straight ahead.
Without drowning you in the details, alignment measurements involve a front, top-down, and side view, similar to drafting class in high school:
- Camber — Front-view camber refers to the inward or outward tilt of the wheel, the angle between the wheel and suspension when viewed from the front of the vehicle. Think of this as a chiropractor viewing your by looking from your head down your body to your feet. Over time and miles, camber misalignment occurs as bearings, ball joints, and other suspensions and wheel parts wear with use. The degree and pace of wear can be accelerated if your vehicle is driven on rougher roads or with a harder driving style.
- Caster — Side-view caster angle measurements helps balance steering, stability, and cornering. Caster is designed to allow your vehicle to self-center as it moves down the road. When measured, it is the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle. If you have positive caster, the steering axis will tilt toward the driver; negative caster, on the other hand, means the steering axis tilts toward the front end. Again, Caster specs are vehicle specific. Out of factory specs positive caster causes hard steering, excessive road shock and shimmy, all of which accelerate wear on components. Out of factory specs, negative caster causes instability at high speeds.
- Toe — Top-view toe alignment looks at your vehicle from the top, or bird’s eye, view. When measured, too much “toe-in” (think pigeon-toed), when the wheels point inward toward the car’s centerline, will shorten tire life by scrubbing off or cupping the outside tire edges. Too much “toe-out” will have a similar effect but on the inside edges. In addition, too much toe-in can cause hard steering, while too much toe-out can cause your steering to wander or ‘’float” all over the place. Toe specifications are vehicle-specific and vary depending on whether a vehicle is front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, as shown in the short video.
Alignments, brakes, and tires are our auto repair sweet spot, although we also do general repair and maintenance for our customers. When it comes to alignments, the geometry and trigonometry involved are complex. Setting the correct angles requires expert auto mechanics to use proper equipment, service procedures, and up-to-date. That’s the value Tony’s Brake & Alignment provides motorists in Louisville, Shepherdsville, Shelbyville, and other nearby communities. We do alignments everyday for light-duty passenger vehicles, medium-and heavy-duty trucks, as well as buses, fleets and even classic cars.
Whether you’re new to the Louisville area, or a current resident looking for an auto repair shop that truly cares about its customers’ safety, please consider Tony’s Brake & Alignment for your vehicle’s chiropractic and other auto repair needs. Please call us, or schedule an appointment online, or know you’re welcome to visit us at 4800 Poplar Level Road, Louisville, KY 40213, Monday to Friday, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.