Unless you are a seasoned driver with advanced knowledge of mechanics and having the appropriate equipment, the geometry settings should not be changed. Each vehicle requires an optimal configuration of the camber angle, the angle shooting, and the angle of nip that only garages are entitled to do because of every tenth of a millimeter account.
The geometry consists of controlling and adjusting the alignment of the 4 wheels. This operation costs between 50 and 100$.
Even if the prices can seem prohibitive, a bad adjustment can have important consequences on the life of a tire and generate additional costs as well as a bad feeling at the wheel.
Before getting into more technical considerations, it is important to ask yourself some questions about geometry.
Is geometry a routine procedure just like an oil change?
No, geometry is a special procedure that should be performed only if you notice any of these phenomena:
- The vehicle swerves to the left or to the right in a straight line.
- Tire wear is uneven.
- The flywheel is not in the axis.
- The tires squeal for no apparent reason.
Do I have to do a geometry check every time I change tires?
In general, it is not mandatory to do this check if you keep the same dimensions as before. A change in tire size, on the other hand, involves checking the geometry. Also, note that most garages automatically offer this check for security.
Alignment, what exactly is it?
Wheel alignment is the checking and adjustment of the following angles: camber angle, caster angle, and toe angle (parallelism).
Each car has very precise measurements, but some enthusiasts like to make changes to customize the behavior of their vehicles. The alignment adjustment is precise and is carried out with a specific machine: a geometry bench.
It is expressed in degrees. The degree is negative when the top of the tire leans slightly towards the vehicle. He is positive when he walks away from it.
In the case of a sporty driver, a negative angle allows him to take a more aggressive turn. On the other hand, it loses grip on the straight lines, which impairs braking and powerful acceleration.
The Hunting Angle
Also expressed in degrees, it is the angle that expresses the difference between a line perpendicular to the ground and the axis of the pivot of rotation of the wheel.
It is responsible for high-speed stability and the steering angle. Usually, the caster angle is not modifiable, a modification of it aims to restore balance after an accident.
Toe-In / Parallelism Angle
The toe-in angle, or opening angle, corresponds to the difference between the direction of the wheels and the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. If the imaginary lines converge to intersect in front of the vehicle, we speak of a toe-in angle. Otherwise, we speak of the opening angle (diverging).
In order to ensure the general balance of mechanical forces, a rear-wheel drive vehicle is often characterized by a toe-in angle while the front-wheel drive will most often have an opening angle.
In conclusion, it is imperative to ensure that the angle settings are appropriate.
It does not matter if your vehicle is fitted with the latest generation tires with maximum service life. A bad adjustment of a few millimeters will destroy the most famous tires in terms of durability.