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Thread: Alignment & Balance info.

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    Newbie Blue_Jinnee's Avatar
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    Default Alignment & Balance info.

    Alignment & Balance

    Wheel alignment and Wheel Balancing are two totally different things, but many people often get them confused. In a nutshell, wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is maximum tire life and a vehicle that tracks straight and true when driving along a straight and level road. Wheel Balancing, on the other hand allows the tires and wheels to spin without causing any vibrations. This is accomplished by checking for any heavy spots on the wheel-tire combination and compensating for it by placing a measured lead weight on the opposite site of the wheel from where the heavy spot is.

    The symptoms of a car that is out of alignment are:

    Uneven or rapid tire wear
    Pulling or drifting away from a straight line
    Wandering on a straight level road
    Spokes of the steering wheel off to one side while driving on a straight and level road.
    The symptoms of a wheel that is out of balance are:

    Vibration in the steering wheel at certain highway speeds.
    Vibration in the seat or floorboard at certain highway speeds.
    Scalloped or cupped wear pattern on the tires
    Wheel Alignment: To find out if you need an alignment, first check each tire and look for uneven wear patterns. The problem with this method, however, is that if you can see a wear pattern like the ones listed below, it may be too late to save that tire. This is why it is a good idea to have your alignment checked periodically.

    At each tire, take a coin and insert it in the tread at the inside, center and outside.

    If the tread is deeper on the edges than in the center, the tire is over inflated.
    If the tread is deeper in the center than the edges, the tire is under inflated.
    If the tread is deeper on one side than the other, have your wheel alignment checked soon.
    Run your hand back and forth across the tread, being careful not to cut yourself on any debris or exposed steel belt wire. If the tread is smooth in one direction, but jagged in the other you have what is called a "saw-tooth" wear pattern which is caused by a toe-in problem. Have the alignment checked as soon as possible as this condition causes rapid tire wear.
    The first two conditions do not call for a wheel alignment but the second two do. If these wear patterns are pronounced, you should replace the tires or move them to the rear before aligning the car. Ask your alignment specialist to be sure.

    Another indication of an out-of-alignment condition is a car that continuously drifts or pulls to one side of the road when you let go of the wheel. A car that is hard to keep in a straight line without constant steering corrections is also a candidate. These conditions may or may not also contribute to premature tire wear.

    A wheel alignment cannot be done on a car with loose or worn front end parts. The technician will first check for worn parts and inform you of any problems before beginning the alignment.

    The best type of wheel alignment is a four wheel alignment. Many cars today have adjustable rear alignment settings, but even for cars without adjustments in the rear, a four wheel alignment will allow the technician to identify any rear tracking problems and compensate for them with adjustments to the front.

    After the wheel alignment is finished, you should drive the car on a straight and level road and check that the car goes straight and that the steering wheel is in the proper position with the spokes level. If you notice a problem, take the car back and have the technician drive it and fine-tune the alignment settings.

    Wheel Balance: Out-of-balance tires will cause a car to vibrate at certain speeds, usually between 50 and 70 mph. A tire is out of balance when one section of the tire is heavier than the others. One ounce of imbalance on a front tire
    is enough to cause a noticeable vibration in the steering wheel at about 60 mph. To balance a wheel, the technician will mount it on a balancing machine which spins the wheel to locate the heavier part. He will then compensate for the heavy part by attaching a lead weight on the opposite side. Many people are pleasantly surprised at how smooth their car drives after balancing all four wheels.

    Most high quality tires will hold their balance fairly well and go out of balance very gradually. If you notice a vibration that wasn't there the day before, it is possible that one of the lead balancing weights fell off. If you feel the vibration mostly in the steering wheel, the problem is most likely in a front wheel
    . If the vibration is mostly in the seat, the problem is probably in the rear.

    For those of you who are very sensitive about vibrations and your shop can't seem to get that last bit of vibration out, check to see if you have locking wheel lugs. Some locking lugs are as much as 1.5 ounces heavier than the other lug nuts which translates to about 1/2 ounce at the wheel rim. Try putting a 1/2 ounce weight opposite the locking lug and see if it helps.

    Enjoy..

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Wow... couldn't have put it better myself !!!


    Allen SimplyTire Inc. l 14 Toro Road l Toronto l Ontario l M3J-2A4
    (t) 416-916-9233 l (e) allen@simplytire.com l www.simplytire.com

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    Sr Member Thrizzl3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Sticky!!!!

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    Jr Member 06Touring3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Question...

    If your rims need hub rings and you only have 3 on can that also cause vibration? That is currently the case with me but I am taking my tires to be balanced as well just in case.
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Bump.....great info. I've just set up an appointment for an alignment next week after I get my struts/shocks installed.

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    Newbie Blue_Jinnee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by 06Touring3 View Post
    Question...

    If your rims need hub rings and you only have 3 on can that also cause vibration? That is currently the case with me but I am taking my tires to be balanced as well just in case.
    No

    Laith

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    Jr Member jcutner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    This may have been stated in another thread, but where would you guys recommend for an alignment? I got pro-kits installed 3 weeks ago, and my alignment is ruined...

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcutner View Post
    This may have been stated in another thread, but where would you guys recommend for an alignment? I got pro-kits installed 3 weeks ago, and my alignment is ruined...
    http://www.torontomazda3.ca/forum/sh...ight=alignment
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcutner View Post
    This may have been stated in another thread, but where would you guys recommend for an alignment? I got pro-kits installed 3 weeks ago, and my alignment is ruined...
    Canadian tire $100 very nice job!!

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Also Ricco alignment on Danforth

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    very good read, I am going in to Altech for an alignment soon, but my steering wheel DOES shake a little bit at 110-120Kmh so wondering if i need both done! This could get very pricey!

    Great write-up!

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    great thread.

    I have been having problems with my rear wheels.
    This spring after my second winter I took my car for a tire change winter to stock all season badyear.
    When I brought my car into the dealership I was told that those all season tires are gone coz of the uneven thread ware. When I looked at the tires I noticed it was worn mostly inside. the outside part was okay.
    I still told them to put these tires on and went shopping.
    Bough nice set of Evo v12.
    Took my car for alignment to the dealership.
    later this summer I was doing my 8k oil change with tire rotation and guess what...
    Same issue with the rear tires. It was not as bad as it was with my stock tires but it was clear that the inside marking line was almost invisible when the outside one was still perfectly fine. I started yelling at them asking if they wanted me to buy new tires every season....
    So they did the alignment again for free.
    I can hear this weird noise when I am driving 100km/h + form the back of my car. I was told it is due to the uneven thread ware...
    I am still worried if they did it the proper way this time.
    Probably should try the place you suggested.
    thanks!

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    Sr Member Iceman_F1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by HedonisT View Post
    great thread.

    I have been having problems with my rear wheels.
    This spring after my second winter I took my car for a tire change winter to stock all season badyear.
    When I brought my car into the dealership I was told that those all season tires are gone coz of the uneven thread ware. When I looked at the tires I noticed it was worn mostly inside. the outside part was okay.
    I still told them to put these tires on and went shopping.
    Bough nice set of Evo v12.
    Took my car for alignment to the dealership.
    later this summer I was doing my 8k oil change with tire rotation and guess what...
    Same issue with the rear tires. It was not as bad as it was with my stock tires but it was clear that the inside marking line was almost invisible when the outside one was still perfectly fine. I started yelling at them asking if they wanted me to buy new tires every season....
    So they did the alignment again for free.
    I can hear this weird noise when I am driving 100km/h + form the back of my car. I was told it is due to the uneven thread ware...
    I am still worried if they did it the proper way this time.
    Probably should try the place you suggested.
    thanks!
    If it's the rears that are the issue, there is no adjustment possible for those unless you have an adjustable camber kit. I currently have this problem which should go away next summer when I install the camber kit I have. If you are lowered it will probably magnify the issue. If not there might be something worse off but they still can't adjust the rears.
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    Newbie HedonisT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman_F1 View Post
    If it's the rears that are the issue, there is no adjustment possible for those unless you have an adjustable camber kit. I currently have this problem which should go away next summer when I install the camber kit I have. If you are lowered it will probably magnify the issue. If not there might be something worse off but they still can't adjust the rears.
    that sucks. I don't want to destroy my Pirelli winter tires this coming season...
    Mine is not lowered btw.

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    Sr Member Iceman_F1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by HedonisT View Post
    that sucks. I don't want to destroy my Pirelli winter tires this coming season...
    Mine is not lowered btw.
    Even if not lowered they still can't adjust the rears. Shouldn't be AS bad but still will affect things.

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    I have the same problem and got myself a camber kit at Altech. See my posting here:
    Saw your posting...

    http://www.torontomazda3.ca/forum/sh...gnments)/page6

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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    A Mazda Service Rep. stressed tire rotation every oil change due to that rear camber situation. That's the trade-off for the handling.

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    Uncle Ben
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    Quote Originally Posted by olgeezer1 View Post
    A Mazda Service Rep. stressed tire rotation every oil change due to that rear camber situation. That's the trade-off for the handling.
    BULLSHIT- the thing that will cause camber wear is improper toe. Negative camber has little to do with it. I am running -3.5 camber in the front (-2.5 out of spec) and -1.5 camber in the rear (-.5 out of spec) and my tires are wearing evenly. My toe is dead on at factory spec and i have no tire wear issues. Have had this setup for a while now. Mind you, I have the privelage of doing my own alignments at work
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    Jr Member ThucP's Avatar
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    Default Re: Alignment & Balance info.

    I've been running -3.0 camber in front and -2.8 camber in rear with stock toe all summer and my summer tires are evenly worn so it must be toe that kills the tires not camber
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