Where the rubber meets the road
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.