Wheels and Tires

Ask me about Wheel Alignment and Tires

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 26th, 2020 12:52 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 28, 2020
63 posts
30 upvotes

Ask me about Wheel Alignment and Tires

Hello everyone!
I've been a front end alignment specialist for the past 5 years and have done high end tire installations as well because of it. Feel free to ask me about all your Tire and Alignment needs here ranging from what tires go with what rims, bolt patterns, tire feathering, you get the idea. I'll try my best to respond to all your questions to the best of my abilities and in a timely manner.
Cheers!
18 replies
Member
User avatar
Oct 9, 2005
488 posts
71 upvotes
Thornhill
Would your alignment settings be any different between an awd version and a fwd version of the exact same car for the track?

Would your alignment settings for track use be any different if you ran 500tw all seasons and 200tw uhp summers?

Assuming 0 toe for front and back, what's the most negative camber you should run on a street driven daily before significant wear and tear of tires?
Hi
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6299 posts
1945 upvotes
BC
Could you explain steering wheel central position in respect to wheel alignment?

And discuss points such as:
- should the steering wheel be centered as an integral part of a wheel alignment?
- or does it have to be specified and done as a specific step?
- does an off-centre steering wheel indicate the need for an alignment even if no other signs evident (tire feathering, car pulling to one side when driving, etc.)?
- does an "alignment check" ever include minor adjustments or are these always billed extra?
- does an alignment technician always identify bent suspension and/or steering components as part of the process, even if they are not visibly evident?
- why do some automakers insist their rear alignment is not adjustable and only aftermarket shims are available?
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 28, 2020
63 posts
30 upvotes
Hey xeoreg.

To answer your first question
"Would your alignment settings be any different between an awd version and a fwd version of the exact same car for the track?"

It depends if the car with only FWD has adjustable camber and toe in the back. Some FWD cars are only adjustable in the FRONT when it comes to camber and toe and just not adjustable in the REAR at all. Other times only the toe is adjustable in the REAR and not camber. It would really come down to what cars are being compared at. As most AWD cars, the FRONT and REAR Camber and Toe are adjustable due to the fact that all 4 wheels are spinning at the same time so if one of the wheels were out of spec. i.e negative camber/positive camber going one way while the rest of the specs are inline, it would more than likely pull in that direction. Lastly when it comes to adjusting your rear toe and camber bolts are more likely to get seized within its rubber bushing when exposed to the elements (snow, water, salt.esp when you live in Canada) which causes your bolts unable to be adjusted unless they get heated, but even then when they get heated there is a chance that the bushing around the bolt can get damaged due to the heat that is being applied to it which can end up needing to be replaced at your expense because most alignment techs wont heat it up unless the customer gives them the green light, in which case they will have probably told you what could possibly happen.

"Would your alignment settings for track use be any different if you ran 500tw all seasons and 200tw uhp summers?"

When it comes to tires the alignment will only affect toe and camber wear when you track it. If your track car is running NEGATIVE 2.5 camber on the left and right side along with ZEROED out toe. Your tires will wear out along the inside of the tire faster than the outside no matter what tires you had on your car, even if you had on 500TW AS or 200TW UHP. BUT you would definitely drive faster in the 200TW UHP summers than the 500TW AS due to the fact that the UHP are designed to be track driven.

"Assuming 0 toe for front and back, what's the most negative camber you should run on a street driven daily before significant wear and tear of tires?"

This question is a bit tricky because it really comes down to the driver themselves. Usually in the summer time ive had people ask for Negative 2.5 camber and the rare instance of negative 3 - 4 camber because they're all about the stance life. Usually when people do run at least a negative 2.5 camber they come in about half way through the summer and ask to get their tires flipped because the tread wore out on that one side and they have tones on the other side of the tire. Since I live in the GTA cops 9/10 times can pull you over for having "bald tires" because they can only see the outside tire and not the inside, and if they really wanna cause you inconvenience they can write you up for it. So i guess what im trying to say is that it really comes down to how often you wanna change your tires and how much you wanna pay. But from my personal experience, i'd run at MOST negative 2.5 camber.

I hope my answers helped you, if you need anymore clarification in places i wasn't really clear about. Feel free to reach out and ill do my best to answer them.

Cheers!
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 20, 2004
3895 posts
825 upvotes
Mississauga
I tried doing alignment on a old 2001 Lexus after getting new tires.
The usual shop I go to gave many attempts, even with torch, but they couldn't get the nut loosen on the front tie rods.
Is the only way to align the car now involves cutting/replacing tie rods?
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 28, 2020
63 posts
30 upvotes
Hello wing0,

I've come across your issue before and how i tend to tackle the issue are the following steps below;

1. spray penetrating fluid on both sides first and let it soak for about 2 mins each.
2. If step 1 didn't work then; heat the lock nut with a torch until glowing red and try to adjust/turn
3. If step 2 didn't work then; heat up the tie-rod itself carefully to loosen the threads that are actually IN the tie-rod because 90% of the time water and salt got in and caused it to seize. this causes the Tie-rod to expand just enough for you to turn it loose and then you would have to keep repeating it until you get it within spec after its been cooled off and brought back down to temp.
4. If all else fails then; yes replacement would be needed, just make sure the person replacing the tie-rods puts some anti seize on the threads so you wont have the issue again.

I personally haven't had replace the tie-rod because of this issue, I usually get it loose by the time I get to step 3 or im on step 3

I hope this helped and i hope that your lexus gonna be driving straight soon. Feel free to DM if you have further questions.

Cheers!
Member
User avatar
Oct 9, 2005
488 posts
71 upvotes
Thornhill
Hey kchaan, thanks for taking time to answering questions i had in my mind. I have a "11 Impreza, it's my daily driver and would also like to do some track days starting this coming spring. Looking to do a momentum build focused on handling, so far have a stock rear sway bar and stock endlinks from an STi, wheels and tires. Stainless brake lines, high temp brake fluid flush and a brake pad upgrade are coming as soon as the weather is warmer, but I also want to have coilovers and a lower control arm kit installed by this summer. I will be having a shop doing the install, is there any critical/cost effective things I should look into doing to save significant time and money in near future? I do have a relatively tight budget but would like to do the essentials right the first time. Alignment is a given after the install.

Thanks!
Hi
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 28, 2020
63 posts
30 upvotes
Hey xeoreg,

Glad i could help you with your questions.

Hmmm.... the best case scenario for you is to DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Not to sound rude or anything but its very important to make sure that all the parts you want on your car ACTUALLY FITS because the last thing you want to happen is you purchasing a part 'x' amount of dollars only for it to not fit your car. Usually people like to run TEIN coil-overs on their Subaru's, they "fit the best" apparently. In terms of the lower control arms, your best bet is to look at reviews on YouTube or other forums to see if they have done it to their cars themselves, because you never know. people may have the same ideas as you, but they just live in a different part of the world. Since you are on a budget (i dont know it so i cant say for certain) ask the shop that is installing everything if they can charge you less if you do it ALL AT ONCE instead of doing it on different days, like the most they can say is 'no' but it doesn't hurt to ask. And even if they cant do it for cheaper BUT they can do it all in 1 day. it'll save you the trouble of taking days off work which can possibly cost you money.

Based on what you told me and how you want your car setup, you're gonna have a fun time on the track, with just the stock STI sway bar in the rear, you'll have tighter turns already. Not sure if you know this but once you put your new pads (could be hawk pads for example) you're gonna get a lot of squeaking and its gonna be REALLY LOUD. That just means that your brakes are doing its jobs, also. BE PREPARED to change your rotors. I've seen guys that upgrade their pads but leave the rotors. When you drive on the track, your rotors will get significantly hotter than they do compared to daily driving, this in turn may cause the rotors to WARP causing you to get unwanted vibrations while driving. After your first track day you may feel like you can turn better if your alignment was different, when i say different i mean CAMBER. Look into aftermarket camber kits for your car cause sooner or later you'll wanna be more aggressive and ask for -2.5 or even -3.0 camber to help you with tighter turns. But in doing so, you'll wear your tires out a lot faster.

I hope this helps & again, feel free to pick my brain by asking me questions.

Cheers!
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2008
2171 posts
376 upvotes
I had my alignment done last year, and just had the ball joints replaced on my Wrangler...do I need to get another alignment done? My mechanic didn't mention this to me
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 28, 2020
63 posts
30 upvotes
redsfan wrote: I had my alignment done last year, and just had the ball joints replaced on my Wrangler...do I need to get another alignment done? My mechanic didn't mention this to me
Hey!

Was it just the ball joints alone? If so, your car doesn't have to do an alignment unless other parts of the suspension was altered or adjusted. If your car drives straight then a alignment shouldn't be needed unless you feel that its off.
Deal Addict
Nov 16, 2008
2171 posts
376 upvotes
kchaan wrote: Hey!

Was it just the ball joints alone? If so, your car doesn't have to do an alignment unless other parts of the suspension was altered or adjusted. If your car drives straight then a alignment shouldn't be needed unless you feel that its off.
at this last set of fixes yeah, just the upper and lower. Had the alignment done for some other work in the Spring so figured no need to do it again..appreciate the response
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 27, 2012
5674 posts
898 upvotes
Toronto
What are the signs that shows an immediate wheel alignment is needed?

50,000km in, haven't had wheel alignment.
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 28, 2020
63 posts
30 upvotes
test9251 wrote: What are the signs that shows an immediate wheel alignment is needed?

50,000km in, haven't had wheel alignment.
Negative camber wear (inside tire wear), Toe wear (inside wear, at least 1/4 of the tire tread is gone), center wear (over inflation of tire), outer edge wear also known as feathering, not enough tire pressure, cupping wear - consistent bald spots (from damaged suspension), patchy wear (caused by an improperly balanced tire)

If you are able to attach a photo of your tires i can tell you what is going on right away
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Aug 27, 2012
5674 posts
898 upvotes
Toronto
kchaan wrote: Negative camber wear (inside tire wear), Toe wear (inside wear, at least 1/4 of the tire tread is gone), center wear (over inflation of tire), outer edge wear also known as feathering, not enough tire pressure, cupping wear - consistent bald spots (from damaged suspension), patchy wear (caused by an improperly balanced tire)

If you are able to attach a photo of your tires i can tell you what is going on right away
well right now im using winter tires which is just on its 2nd year. will post a pic when i have time.
or
maybe i can just post the all season tire pic after a month

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