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Unfortunately, an alignment check by a qualified professional is the only way to be certain. A vehicle that is out of alignment can exhibit a number of symptoms like adverse tire wear, a ‘pull’ to one side or another while driving, a crooked steering wheel, poor handling when braking or cornering, and more. The three main angles measured by an alignment check are camber, caster and toe.
Camber can best be described as the inward or outward angle of the tire as viewed from the front. For example, the Leaning Tower of Pisa exhibits a negative camber. If this angle is too far outside of manufacturer specifications, the vehicle can pull to one side (sometimes) and cause premature edge wear due to one side of the tire tread making more contact with the ground than the other side of the tread.
Caster is the angle of the tire towards the front or rear, as viewed from the side. This angle will not generally cause adverse tire wear, but it will definitely cause a pull if it is out of specification.
Toe is the inward or outward direction of the tires as viewed from above. The most common angle in need of adjustment, misalignment of the toe angle will cause adverse tire wear but not a pull. It is also the easiest angle to ‘knock out’ of spec by hitting a pothole, curb or other object.
BRAKEmax technicians are ASE Certified and available to check your alignment against manufacturer specifications. Taking care of this vital service will ensure that your tires last as long as the rubber holds.