WHAT ARE THE PARTS OF A WHEEL ALIGNMENT?
When a wheel is aligned, it is simply being straightened into the desired position, under three different axes. On each wheel, three wheel parameters are checked and adjusted: the camber, toe, and caster.
What Is Wheel Camber Alignment?
Camber is a wheel's inward or outward angles as seen from the front of the vehicle. Positive camber is when the top of the tires are tilted away from the vehicle's center, and negative camber is when the top of the tires point toward the center. Neither is better than the other, but negative camber usually encourages dramatic motions for high-performance vehicles, while positive camber makes steering a bit more deliberate and secure. Most drivers find a neutral camber ideal.
What Is Wheel Toe Alignment?
Toe refers to the orientation of the tires with the vehicle's centerline as viewed from above. Said differently, it measures whether any wheels are turned slightly left or right. Since left and right are confusing when vehicles have two sides, toe-out means a wheel has one end tilted away from the vehicle's center, while toe-in refers to the opposite. Some vehicles, like race cars, use a toe-out position to help make dramatic turns, and some people choose to align toe-in if they prefer a slower, more gradual turn. For most vehicles and drivers, perfectly straight will serve fine.
What Is Wheel Caster Alignment?
Caster refers to a line produced by the higher and lower steering pivot points. If the line slopes toward the back of the car, it has a positive wheel caster. Negative caster, when the line slopes toward the front, makes steering more active but also encourages lane drifting.
A driver can have positive and negative levels of any of these three things. What matters is that all four wheels are aligned in a desirable, matching setup and that nothing is inhibiting performance.