Learning About Wheel Alignment

7 Jun

PLS (Prepper Life Skill). In the book, I talk about the basics of changing a tire because today so many people haven’t done this. You might need to change a tire when fleeing a disaster. Off-roaders and car racers know another skill preppers might want to learn: How To Do Your Own Front Wheel Alignment. This is a handy skill to have whenever you change something in your steering or suspension. Even many automotive do-it-yourselfers will take their car into a shop for a computerized alignment after changing an outer tie rod end. But, what if no shop were open? Before computerized systems, how were wheels aligned?

Trying to check your vehicle’s alignment with strings and a tape measure is an infuriating and time consuming process. It’s probably not something you’ll want to do most of the time! But, as a basic PLS, dig out some string, a plumb bob, and a tape measure, and try to see how well you can measure your wheel’s “toe in” alignment. Having a proper “toe in” is important to maximize the life of your tires. A very slight toe in will help your car track its path down the road. Too much toe in will quickly wear down your front tires. (If you use the string method, you should run the strings on each side of your vehicle and check that the distance between the two strings is about the same at the front and rear of the vehicle.) Below are some links to show you how:

DIY Alignment – Part 1   AutoXer (Youtube)
Check Your Own Alignment
Wheel Alignment HowTo – 1954 Pontiac 
4 Wheel Alignment on a Mazda MX-5 Miata

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