A front end alignment, also called a 2-wheel alignment, is when all the components in the front of your car, truck, van or SUV are positioned at the correct angles so your vehicle can drive and be controlled smoothly. Poor wheel alignment can be found in the following measurements:
When you’re looking at your front tires, you may notice they aren’t facing straight toward you. If the tops of the wheels seem to be tilted toward each other, they are experiencing negative camber. If they’re facing away from each other, they are at positive camber — but just because it includes the word “positive,” it doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. It simply means your tires are misaligned and require an adjustment.
If you stand to the side of your vehicle, you may notice your tires aren’t centered. This is due to a bent, broken or tilted steering axis. If it is tilted toward the front of your car, it is negative caster. If it’s tilted toward the back of your car, it is a positive caster.
If you had a birds-eye view of your vehicle, you might notice the front of your tires are tilted toward or away from each other. When the tops of your wheels are leaning in toward each other, it is called toe-in. If the tops of the tires are leaning away from each other, it is called toe-out alignment.
This is determined by measuring whether the front and rear axles are running parallel to each other. If they aren’t, they need to be adjusted.
Each of these components needs to be fitted at specific angles in relation to one another, otherwise your wheel alignment is off and can affect other parts of your alignment system. Reasons for a misalignment can include collisions, driving into deep potholes at too high a speed and riding up on curbs. This is why it’s so important to be aware of what is on and around the road.