As discussed in Part 1, a tire alignment allows tires to perform properly and have longer service lives. They also improve overall performance and handling. Part 2 will discuss Alignment, Feathering, Camber Tread Wear, Heel-Toe Tread Wear, and Tire Balancing.
A faulty tire or wheel alignment can result in tires wearing prematurely and unevenly. The following discusses several kinds of tread wear and tear caused by misalignments.
Feathering is indicated when tread is lower/smoother on one side of a tire and higher/sharper on the other. This is typically caused by improper toe alignment.
Camber Tread Wear is indicated when the outside or inside of a tire’s tread is noticeably much more worn than its center. Negative or positive camber is attributable to this kind of wear.
Heel-Toe Tread Wear is caused when one side of a tire’s tread block wears down faster than the other. When your hand goes across the tread, it will feel like saw teeth. This type of tread wear could be an indication of insufficient tire rotation or under inflation.
Differing from tire alignment, tire balancing compensates for imbalances in weight found in the wheel/tire combination. It is usually performed with a wheel alignment. The two typical kinds of imbalance that require addressing are static (single plane) and dynamic (dual plane).
A static imbalance occurs on a single plane, the vertical movement that can result in vibration. In contrast, a dynamic imbalance occurs on two planes, both vertical and lateral movements. Either imbalance will need a special balancing machine to fix the issue.
A certified mechanic will mount each tire on a rim and adjust its pressure until reaching optimal inflation. Every tire will then be put on a balancing machine’s center bore. It will spin a tire rapidly to determine the wheel/tire combination’s imbalance. This will indicate how much weight is needed to be added to the wheel in order to balance the tire.
Crucial for proper tire care, tire balancing helps prevent premature tread wear. Performing an alignment and balancing every tire every 5,000 to 6,000 miles will help lengthen their service lives and improve their overall performance.
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