Where the rub­ber meets the road

Herald Sun - Motoring - - INSIDE LINE - Paul Gover

KEEP­ING your car on the straight and nar­row is not as easy as it seems. Some­thing as mi­nor as mis­aligned wheels can con­trib­ute mas­sively to ac­cel­er­ated tyre wear, poor brak­ing per­for­mance and even a car that fol­lows con­tours in the bi­tu­men in­stead of track­ing down the road. And it’s not just the front wheels that need check­ing. Modern in­de­pen­dent and multi-link sus­pen­sions re­quire ve­hi­cles to have a four­wheel align­ment to work prop­erly, as one Cars­guide reader found.

“The front tyres on our Mercedes-Benz Vito van, the fam­ily car, were chop­ping out af­ter just 10,000km,” he says.

“We had the front end aligned a cou­ple of times and it made no dif­fer­ence. Ev­ery­thing looked fine but the tyres were wear­ing very quickly.”

He dug deeper and asked for a rear-end align­ment. “We dis­cov­ered that it was out by 18mm. That’s huge. Not just that, but it was 16mm on one side and 2mm on the other.”

With the Vito track­ing prop­erly for the first time, the front tyres fi­nally wore nor­mally.

We’ve heard the same thing about other cars and brands, in­clud­ing some Kia SUVs, which are sus­cep­ti­ble to un­ruly front-end be­hav­iour if the rear end is not track­ing prop­erly and feed­ing de­struc­tive forces to the front wheels.

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