You may understand perfectly well that you need to take your car in for a service on a regular basis, especially if you're going to protect your investment and ensure reliability. However, an automobile service shouldn't be restricted to the typical mechanical items only, such as engine, transmission, suspension and brakes. You also need to consider taking your vehicle in for regular maintenance on your wheels. What have you overlooked here?
Servicing Your Wheels
When you get new tyres fitted, the technician will spend a great deal of time in making sure that your wheels are properly set up and that the tyres are balanced correctly. One of the first jobs they will undertake is to align the wheels properly to make sure that the tracking is right. If you didn't do this, your tyres would wear out rather quickly and you would also spend a lot more on fuel as you would be constantly trying to reset the steering geometry when driving.
Adjustments, like the correct toe angle, must be configured. Most vehicles will be a couple of degrees off-centre, as this is the best way to ensure uniform tread wear across all tyres. Too much to one side and tread will be worn away unnecessarily.
Next, it's important to ensure that the wheel is correctly angled in relation to the vertical plane. They should never sit at an exact 90° to the horizontal when attached to the car. Typically, they will lean slightly inwards at the top; this is called negative camber. Sometimes, it may lean the other way (positive camber), but in that case the technician is looking to ensure that tyre wear is even and not excessive on either the inner or the outer edge.
Finally, the expert is also looking to adjust the caster angle. This is crucial if you are to have the best driving experience and to make the fewest corrections to the steering wheel when you're motoring. The steering arms that connect the wheels to the car have to be adjusted so that the steering axis is always correct. The way that the wheels present themselves to the road has to be uniform across all four wheels, or trouble will ensue.
Why You Need to Service
While the technician will set all of these angles very carefully at the outset, they will gradually fall out of true, over time. This can happen whenever you drive over a pothole or strike a kerb. This means that you definitely need to take your vehicle in for a wheel service periodically to check that all these figures are correct.