Birmingham Motor Tyre
Wheel Alignment FAQ  

What is the difference between Tracking and Four Wheel Alignment?

Tracking is an across the axle check of total toe. With the tracking gauges touching the edge of the wheel rim the operator peers through a 'scope' or views a light/laser beam on a scale. With no allowance for run out compensation* the reading taken will at best be approximate. So for tracking - we have one angle measured approximately. Four Wheel Alignment will give a minimum of 12 angles measured, all referenced to the car wheel centreline* and displaying these alignment angles and comparing them to the factory alignment data. Allowance is made for wheel rim run-out. We have accurate repeatable reading that will allow the full picture of how the vehicle drives and whether undue tyre wear will occur. Adjustment would involve the steering wheel being set straight and adjusting the individual toe to maintain a straight steering wheel while the car is driven.
On a modern car tracking alone will not result in a complete job or your complete satisfaction.

My tyres are wearing a little on the inside edge and my steering wheel is not quite straight ahead. What might be the problem?

The first way forward on any car is to capture the current measurements for all the alignment angles - this will then give the complete answer and lead to the necessary diagnosis and subsequent adjustments. However as a general rule excessive toe-out* will lead to premature inside edge wear - this will generally show on both tyres on that axle. The steering wheel not being straight is most likely caused by more adjustment having been made on one trackrod than the other - This 'fault' is common when tracking alone has been done.

How much can I expect to pay for a Four Wheel Alignment?

The general rule of thumb is that the total cost of a four wheel measurement and adjustment will be similar to the cost of a tyre for the car in question. Clearly a performance car or one with many more adjustments becomes more involved and takes longer.

In regards to cost - confirm the cost for the initial measurement with the Hunter equipped alignment centre, this initial measurement gives lots of information and leads to a full discussion on what then actually needs doing.

Will my problem always be solved?

Usually but not always. Cars have wheel alignment difficulties through being both out of adjustment (correctable) or by having bent components or even the car body/subframe to which they bolt being bent. How many new parts are needed? Does the car need to visit a bodyshop?

Does having worn tyres mean that the car can be aligned - or do I need to fit new tyres first?

New or old tyre fitted will make little difference to the alignment readings.
They will however have a big effect on the way the car feels to drive (even after the alignment has been corrected). Where there was a high degree of misalignment and hence tyre wear present it would be recommended to have new tyres fitted at the time of the alignment adjustments are made.

Will the alignment shop always have the alignment data for my car?

Generally speaking yes they would, there are enormous amounts of factory issued alignment data available to the Hunter user. On occasions very new vehicles - or some imports, may need the data obtaining specifically for that car. This is very unusual and should not be a problem. Some Hunter sites will have WebSpecs allowing missing data to be found straight away, on line. A more common query relates to what is the correct alignment data on modified cars or cars where the ride height has been lowered or 'slammed'.

There is no data - and this is where the skill and interpretation by the alignment operator will assist in finding suitable settings. Often aftermarket adjustment kits are needed. Its fair to say that the optimum settings may not be found completely at the first alignment - and a subsequent revisit after a nominal mileage may be advised to confirm tyre wear is satisfactory/make a further adjustment.

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A bit about BMTR
BMTR is one of the UK's oldest independent tyre retailers. Founded in 1919 by J.J. Smith, and remains family owned to this day. Our flagship outlet in Perry Barr is Birmingham's largest tyre and wheel outlet, with the latest in alignment and MOT technology.

With over 50,000 tyres in stock at all times, we cater for almost every tyre requirement, our buying power also enables us to keep are prices extremely competitive.
Opening Hours
Monday - Friday 8:00 - 5:30
Saturday 8:00 - 12:30
Sunday Closed

All our prices include fitting, valve, balance, scrap disposal & VAT - with absolutely no hidden extras!
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