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Old 24.07.2015, 11:52
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Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

Hi EF folks.
Today I put my car to a local garage in Chexbres to have wheel alignment check. The guy made a test drive, then lifted the car up, used wrench to adjust some bolt in both front wheel, test drive again and said “c’est bon”, it took 30min and I received a bill of 80CHF. Do you think he has done his job well? Honestly I have no experience with this kind of maintenance before. I have had my tires worn unevenly (up to the point that a 20cm length piece of rubber peeled out showing the wire inside) and I got advise to check the “geometry” after replace the tires, I thought he would use the precision instrument (a camera) to check for this (as on youtube video I watched ) but he did not. And I did not see any sign that they have that big camera around the workshop neither. Please share your opinion and advise, thank you.
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Old 24.07.2015, 11:59
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)


He used torch to heat-up the bolts in order to turn it.
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Old 24.07.2015, 12:17
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

Sounds like a very good deal. The best wheel alignment checks for old clunkers are dynamic, where steel plates on bearings are used to measure any side displacement when rolling over them. This takes into account any errors in geometry caused by play in the ball joints etc, and the play is compensated for during normal forward motion. Normal laser tracking basically assumes that the car is fit for an MFK with all joints in spec. Did he push or drive the car over something like a metal plate/manhole in the floor?
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Old 24.07.2015, 12:39
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

If no units were attached to the wheels then you have not had a steering geometry check..

you have been ripped off.

Also note that many modern systems allow the car to be in the air with the wheels free hanging.
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Old 24.07.2015, 12:49
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

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If no units were attached to the wheels then you have not had a steering geometry check..

you have been ripped off.

Also note that many modern systems allow the car to be in the air with the wheels free hanging.
Well that depends doesn't it. If the car is showing a specific pattern of tyre wear and the requirement to adjust it is approximate than manually tweaking the alignment would suffice.

80chf is <1/3 of the cost of a proper geometry alignment over here - so expecting a full weighted alignment might be a tad unrealistic.

NOTE:
There are 3 main geometry adjustments:
Camber: The vertical angle of the tyre perpendicular to the road
Toe: the horizontal angle of the tyre to the straight ahead (minus toe makes the car more responive, positive makes it more stable at speed)
Caster: The angle of the wheel in relation to the vertical.

My guess was that the toe angles were out quite considerably (often this happens when one side of the car hits a kerb or rides through big pothole).
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Old 24.07.2015, 13:51
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

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Did he push or drive the car over something like a metal plate/manhole in the floor?
Yes ! He did indeed, he drived slowly on to a raised metal sheet. I did not know that is a way to check. Thanks a lot p42 for that knowledge. I feel more confident now with my car!

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My guess was that the toe angles were out quite considerably (often this happens when one side of the car hits a kerb or rides through big pothole).
Thanks dodgyken. The point that was terribly worn out is the inner side of one front tire. I hope he hit the right spot .
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Old 24.07.2015, 13:57
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

Just realized that I have picture of that metal sheet, he was driving from outside until the front wheel touch the metal sheet and then jack it up to adjust
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Old 24.07.2015, 14:28
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

Without it being properly measured it's just guess work. Check your tyres again in 2 months and tell us if they are wearing evenly... I will say no.
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Old 24.07.2015, 14:38
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

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Without it being properly measured it's just guess work. Check your tyres again in 2 months and tell us if they are wearing evenly... I will say no.
Thanks rob1. I am about to buy a caliper in order to check it properly. I will let you guy know the result after some months.
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Old 25.07.2015, 01:03
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

Why a Caliper.. it won't tell you if it is set properly just if the track rod ends have equal thread engagement.

I know someone that can be easily described as the UK or even Europe's leading authority on geometry.. he just shakes his head in amazement when looking at this thread. )
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Old 25.07.2015, 07:47
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

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Why a Caliper.. it won't tell you if it is set properly just if the track rod ends have equal thread engagement.

I know someone that can be easily described as the UK or even Europe's leading authority on geometry.. he just shakes his head in amazement when looking at this thread. )


Indeed, Bubba, at the sprint track, may well know the car/track well enough to know that the right track rod needs an additional half turn on the rod end to go fast, but this isn't a sprint track, and it probably wasn't Bubba doing the work.


Although it is possible to get steering geometry quite close with fairly rudimentary tools, this presupposes an in depth knowledge about steering geometry which the OP does not seem to have.


Take the car to an alignment shop. The improved handling/behaviour under emergency stop situations, not to mention the reduced tire wear are worth the additional CHF.


Andrew
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Old 26.07.2015, 14:01
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

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Why a Caliper.. it won't tell you if it is set properly just if the track rod ends have equal thread engagement.

I know someone that can be easily described as the UK or even Europe's leading authority on geometry.. he just shakes his head in amazement when looking at this thread. )
Hi rob1, I intend to measure the tread depth at multiple position of the tires and compare with the value after some months to see whether they are evenly worn. Do you think this method can tell me something about the wheel alignment? My biggest concern is not having the same problem again with the tire.
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Old 26.07.2015, 19:14
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

It will tell you tread wear and if that is all good then it's a fairly good sign however the geometry may still be out of spec. Castor angles are normally not directly adjustable so it's pretty much toe and camber. I suspect your camber is the issue depending how quick the tread wear is.
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Old 26.07.2015, 19:26
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

Back in the day (40 years ago). I used to do my own alignment (and still do for my sidecar), all by eye.

IF you know what you are doing, this method is fine. If not....

(also, I use non-standard alignment, but my vehicles have always been non-standard)

Tom
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Old 26.07.2015, 23:52
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

I never understand how these expensive laser jigs compensate for the (usually lopsided) wear in the typical vehicle? Do they just set the car back to factory spec and just hope?

Lidl sell magnetic spirit levels with built in lasers which can be useful to stick on your discs and see how your car had been setup by the pro for camber and track. That and a Gunson trackrite which does a dynamic check, and you have a reasonable idea what is going on yourself.
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Old 27.07.2015, 00:47
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Re: Car wheel alignment check (but only with bare eyes)

It's back to factory specs which are sometimes good and sometimes not.

However I have never had lopsided wear.....

My car for example the factory specs wear the inside of the tyres due to an increased camber, however it gives a sharper steering feel.

My guy in UK rewrote the specs and had results from about 150 cars so wear and handling is absolutely perfect.

He asks all sorts of questions type of driving, single or multiple passengers etc. He even goes as far as adding weights in the passenger foot well to simulate.

Any idiot can turn a nut or bolt until.the arrow goes in the green range but it's knowing what else to adjust when you can't get it in the green so it does come in the green range.
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