Wheel alignment is synonymous with tire sales at many tire dealerships. Consequently, the store's reputation depends as much on wheel alignment expertise as on general tire knowledge. Successful wheel alignment goes well beyond the shortsighted approach of ``set the toe and let it go.'' Instead, it involves a thorough, routine pre-alignment vehicle inspection followed by a systematic check of fundamental alignment angles.
It also means correlating any tire wear patterns with the angles measured on the vehicle as well as vehicle usage. Discrepancies here may indicate the need for wheel aligner calibration or point to an unusual vehicle usage the customer failed to mention when he made his appointment.
This includes frequent towing and/or hauling heavy sales samples.
Repeatedly realigning a vehicle won't cure the problem that the driver's overloading his vehicle; but an upgrade, such as higher-capacity springs, will.
Cutthroat price competition on wheel alignments often tempts many service personnel to shortcut alignments wherever possible.
However, building a solid reputation at wheel service work is like building a house. A sturdy house is only as strong as its foundation.
Likewise, profitable wheel alignments rely on a firm foundation: Skilled technicians using modern equipment and methodically checking a minimum of camber, caster and toe during every alignment.
This special service section explains the importance of pre-alignment inspections as well as fundamental wheel alignment angles and how they affect ride, handling and tire wear.