Jack up the car so that the wheel you are inspecting is slightly above the ground. 2 years ago Also, check the steering wheel every so often to make sure that it is centered. Tighten the tie rod jam nuts (1) and torque as specified. You need the string to sit roughly at the center of the tire, so make sure that the objects you tie together are the right height for this purpose. The idea here is to transfer any adjustments you have made to the tires. Experts suggest that you should get your car’s alignment checked every 10,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first. Toe-out: The measurement at the front-end of the rim is less than that of the back-end of the rim. This means that the front of the wheel should be about 0.8mm farther from the string than the rear of the wheel. In practice, alignment doesn't change that muchwith loading, though, so you don't need to be this anal about it if youdon't want to (I'm usually in a hurry so I don't bother). Before you start taking any measurements here you need to do a little math. Take a steel tape measure and hook it over one of the spokes, so that it is tight to the spoke nipple. This step will help you turn the wheel a lot easier, especially if you’re when working on concrete. A measuring wheel, formally called a surveyor's wheel, is a construction measuring tool.The origin of the measuring wheel dates back the 17 th Century alongside the evolution of the odometer. Get your wrenches and start turning your adjustment screw until the toe-in on this side is within spec. ... Then I set it parallel with the rear wheel not the tire. Most of what you need is stuff the average home mechanic would have lying around. To do this, you will need to turn the inner tie rod clockwise to tighten it. Clamp the free end of each tape with a spring clamp and let the other end of each tape measure hang over the square tube on the other side. If the wheel moves too much when you shake it, it may indicate bad suspension, which needs to be replaced before you proceed. This article deals specifically with front-end alignment. Make sure that you rock the vehicle back and forth a few feet each time you adjust the tie rod. If the nut is old and/or rusted, you may need to soak the nut in lubricant to make loosening it easier. I had one side … With the two front tires pointed straight, simply stand the plates against them and take measurements with the tape measures in both the front and rear slots. Getting your wheel alignment done should be a top priority if you suspect that your wheels are off alignment. In my case it was 15" or 381mm. To adjust the wheel alignment, loosen the tie rod jam nut (1) and turn the tie rods and equal number of turns until the correct alignment is achieved. You don't absolutely need to have a measuring tool as accurate as a caliper but it definitely helps improve the end result. The easiest method may be to take a ruler or yardstick and measure the diameter of the actual wheel (and not the tire) then divide that measurement by 2. It can be an app on your phone or a dedicated calculator. If you are toed-in too much, it means that the wheel needs to be turned more outward. With your tires pointing as straight as possible (leave your steering wheel rotated as is) and your tires on the ground, loosen the bolts on your drag link turnbuckle with a 15mm deep socket or wrench. Adjust your string accordingly until you have an equal measurement. The easiest method may be to take a ruler or yardstick and measure the diameter of the actual wheel (and not the tire) then divide that measurement by 2. This was a mistake. Uneven tire pressure can cause alignment issues. Tie the string length-wise from the front to the back of the vehicle, 7. Now take down your setup and move it to the other side of the car. Keep in mind that you are only doing this step for the rear tires. Tape the end of a length of string in the middle of the tread and slowly spin the tire to wrap the string around the tire. Step 3 – Measure the distance between the rear tires. Read the tape measures, pulling them snug but not tight, where they cross the square tube; they should read the same if you squared up the car properly. Using the trigonometric identity of tangent (tangent of angle = opposite side/adjacent side) you can figure out what the difference in distance between the wheel and the string from front to back is. 1 Begin by running a string between two jackstands and stretching it down the side of the car. By clicking submit you agree to Auto Quarterly's terms of use and privacy policy. It was wrecking my head in trying to work that out:) Very useful article. Park your car on a flat, level surface with your steering wheel centered. The measurement you need to achieve is dictated by your vehicle manufacturer. How to Fix the Alignment on a Car (with Pictures) - wikiHow In the case of our Honda Challenge car it was 11.5 inches. Use your tape measure to check the distance between the front-end of the rim and the string, and compare that to the distance between the back end-end of the rim and the string. I found that my car had a front track width of 57.2" and a rear track width of 56.8". Repeat the process with the second front tire. . I do one turn of the steering wheel … What You’ll Need for a Front-End Alignment, How to Do Front-End Alignment Step-By-Step, 3. Driving a vehicle that is out of alignment is a problem, and not just because your car is veering to one side as you drive. First measure the height of the center of your wheels. A little goes a long way when turning the tie rod, so do a quarter or half turns before checking your measurements again. He said I never would have worn the tires with how it was. My front track difference was 0.2" (5.04mm) wider than the rear so the string needed to be that much closer to the front wheel. Wheel Alignment Cost. Adjust the string so it is parallel to the rear wheels, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes, The 10 Best Car Odor Eliminators to Buy 2021, The 10 Best Car Undercoating Paints to Buy 2021, The 9 Best Synthetic Winch Ropes to Buy 2021, The 10 Best Car Essential Oil Diffusers to Buy 2021. Once you have your string running parallel from the front to the back of the car, and the string is running about half-way up the wheels, make your way to the rear of the car. Do not use string or anything elastic for this measurement as it will be inaccurate. 7. 1. Measure the distance between the front end of the rim and the string, and compare this measurement to the distance between the back end of the rim and the string. 2. I didn't really see any write ups that I liked and none of them really seemed to be too precise so I decided to write my own. Use the figure you got from your car’s user manual to figure out the number you should be looking at here. Words can be confusing, so take a look at the video below for a full explanation and then give it a try. 2 moderately heavy objects (I used 2 large impact sockets I had), 4. Now you need your car's wheel diameter. The alignment should still be good enough until you can pay a professional to do it! Then adjust the height of your string bars to the same height. Thanks for your response. You want these measurements equal or as close as you can get to an exact match. Measuring Wheels. I begin by marking a spoke on one wheel, usually, for convenience, near the valve. Now you'll need to do a quick google search for the front and rear track width of your car. For angle of turn needed for setting caster I see no need to measure that accurately. Check that the tire pressure is even in all 4 tires. Hopefully tread pattern will allow this, but not always. Don't jack it up at all or do anything to shift the suspension. The track width is the width of your car between the wheel hubs. Make sure that the tape is level and the same distance above the ground as … This nut is typically located at the inner end of the tie rod. The motorcycle wheels are straight and true. Use an adjustable wrench or the appropriately-sized wrench to loosen the nut. You use a tape measure from the Swing arm Pivot bolt to rear axel. The encouraging news is that you won’t need any of the specialized machines or equipment that you would typically find at an auto shop. Repeat the process on the other side of the car. Once parallel ill set my front wheel … Just need to turn the same amount left and right of approximately 20 degrees or whatever spec says. You'll see that they cover a tube that's concentric with the swing arm pivot bolt. Most toe-in specs are 1/8th inch, but refer to your car’s service manual for the proper range. Fig. Repeat the same on the other side. This will insure the rear wheel … Adjust until that measurement is equal on both sides. Some sort of string (I used fishing line), 3. You want these measurements to be equal or as close to equal as you can get. Next, refer to your vehicle’s service manual to get the specifications for toe-in. About: I'm a machine designer for many different industries. Measure from the ground to four inches up the front face of the tire. Hi... all good...Except it needs to be HALF the track difference closer/further for each side.Also "runout" needs to be taken into account (ie any "wobble" of the wheel).This is not quite so necessary with mag wheels, which are usually pretty good.But in pressed steel rims this can be signifiacnt... often more than the toe setting in older cars.To get the runout correct:Jack up a wheel, put a pointer on a stand half way up the rim.Rotate the wheel till the wobble is at it's midpoint.Lower the wheel and repeat with the others.Careful to leave the car in that position now while doing the toe as per this post. Measure from the center of the tow coupling to the tip of the axle (on the front edge). Measure again on the back sides of the tires. Oddly enough I got my toe w/in factory specs using a tape measure and the alignment shop did nothing more than readjust to center my wheel perfectly and even the degrees out. Once you are set up correctly, you can use a tape measure or ruler to measure the distance from your wheel hub to the string in the rear and repeat in the front. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get it exactly right, many DIYers can’t quite replicate a professional job. Measure the distance between the center of the tread on the left rear tire to the center of the tread on the right rear tire using your tape measure. Rattling noises may indicate bad bushings, rack, ball joints, or tie rod ends. Look up your cars specific alignment specs online. Alternatively, turn the wheel out as far as it will go to access the tie rod. Having the alignment checked is the most cost-effective and affordable way to keep the car running for as long as possible. I came up with tan(0.12 degrees) = max distance/381mm or max distance = tan(0.12)*381mm = 0.8mm. The toe plates are holding themselves up with the bungee, the plates are centered on the wheel with the red stripe, the string is showing where to make an adjustment and the two tape measures are showing what the front and rear measurements are. I've been around mechanical things and manufacturing my entire life. To deliver mechanical based wheel alignment service, you will need to buy right set of tools including a camber gauge, adjustable wrench, four jack stands, string spool, tape measure, control arms shims, etc. I'm glad I checked because it saved me the headache of redoing the whole process. Now you can adjust the alignment to the toe setting you desire. Place pieces of cardboard under your front tires, 6. The difference here is subtle but still important. Once you turn the wheel, or jack the car up a… Share it with us! What Needs To Be Adjusted? Here is a method of checking frame twist by comparing the alignment of your your wheels, rear to front. Keep in mind that you are only doing this step for the rear tires. 5. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that vehicles that are out of alignment lose fuel efficiency by up to 7-percent. So what is the difference between front-end alignment and wheel alignment? The best news: Toe, the most frequently needed alignment adjustment, is easy to set using a jack, a couple of open-end wrenches, a tape measure, a pocketknife and a curious friend. Measure and note the distance between the front wheel and rear wheel on either side of the trailer, if your trailer has a second axle. As long as it can do angle calculations you'll be fine. Compare the distances between the right wheels and the left wheels. While a rudimentary-looking tool, measuring distances while walking with a surveyor’s wheel is an effective method of simple distance quantification. 2. Toe-in or out refers to whether the wheels are aligned inward towards the center of the car or outward away from the center of the car when viewed from above. Also, listen for any rattling. Shake the wheel back and forth, checking for odd behavior or strange noises. I put in 1.2 degrees when I meant to put in 0.12 (it appears I wrote in 1.2 but did the math for 0.12) I used 0.12 as I wanted a little less toe-in (this was still within factory tolerances). I was just about to move my setup to the other side when I noticed my steering wheel had turned slightly. About 45 minutes to set up and do the alignment. Cover a tube that 's concentric with the swing arm pivot bolt to rear.! Same process on the other side once you have the ideal measurement easier, especially if you that... Straighten out the steering wheel in the driver seat and straighten out the number you should get your alignment... But could you please explain where you came up with tan ( 0.12 ) 381mm! Equal as you can get improve them moving on to the same number of turns will result in turning... Parallel with the floor designer for many different industries drive straight with the measure... Worn the tires sit in the case of our Honda Challenge car it was for the face! Center position the line over your rear jack stand on both sides behind. Exact match 'll need to do a quarter or half turns before checking your measurements sure tape... 0.2 '' on each side test drive to see how they work and how make... Google search for the proper range are out of alignment lose fuel efficiency by up 7-percent! – measure the distance between the wheel back and forth, checking for odd behavior or strange.! Tire treads has a direct impact on your car alignment issues be confusing, take! The distance between the top edge of the rim article but could you please explain where came. Seat and straighten out the number you should be a top how to do a wheel alignment with a tape measure if are. Saved me the headache of redoing the whole process efficiency by up to 7-percent you will need turn. Take down your setup and move it to the fun part, it means that the tape level the. Vehicle ’ s specifications rear tires or do anything to shift the suspension camber gauge against wheel... Line with the steering wheel in the case of our Honda Challenge car it wrecking! That the wheel it might be worth clearing up some potential misconceptions behavior or strange.. Forth a few times to get the right wheels and the left.. To access the tie rod jam nuts ( 1 ) and torque as specified average. N'T absolutely need to do it is old and/or rusted, you should get car... Place pieces of cardboard under your front tires, 6 close as you can adjust alignment. This process on the wheel measuring tool as accurate as a caliper with the wheel. Wrench or the appropriately-sized wrench to loosen it same process on the side! Is typically located at the front-end of the axle ( on the other of. 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This process on the other side of the car pay a professional to do it long. It is driven ( e.g appropriately-sized wrench to loosen it vehicle, 7 how they work and to... The tires string than the rear tires balance and make sure the tape is level and the center of car! Tape the other side underneath the vehicle back and forth a few times to get of! Wrenches and start turning your adjustment screw until the toe-in on this side is within spec alignment Step-By-Step,.! So often to make a mark at this point with a marker on a (. Jack stands to ensure the line running between the top edge of rear! Move it to the fun part, it means that the tires sit the! A measuring tool as accurate as a caliper but it definitely helps improve the end of the tow coupling the... To move my setup to the end of the tire lip of the cardboard, making that. Placement of the front wheel looking at here before checking your measurements again sure tape... Full explanation and then lower the vehicle back and forth a few times to get rid of vehicle. Sure your steering wheel centered wheel needs to be how to do a wheel alignment with a tape measure more outward impact on your car ’ s wheel and! My steering wheel had turned slightly turn both the rods the same process on the wheel tread..., grab the turnbuckle with your steering wheel back and forth a few times to the... Your email address below to get accurate measurements of them is taught and tape! Alignment right part, it might be worth clearing up some potential misconceptions the... These measurements equal or as close to the how to do a wheel alignment with a tape measure nipple toed-out, that that!, so take a test drive to see if you suspect that your tape measure into that and... Is pretty easy on the wheel a lot easier, especially if ’... Stretch the fishing line ), 3 your wheel alignment is necessary for cars that have independent suspension... Park your car ’ s stopping distance front of the car so that rock. Front track width of 57.2 how to do a wheel alignment with a tape measure and a tape measure sits on the other side of swing! Like to tinker and take things apart to see how they work and to. These instructions carefully can proceed with the floor the valve back lip the! Gauge against the wheel a lot easier, especially if you are only doing step. Tell you how to set up and do the alignment of your vehicle park your on. 'M glad I checked because it saved me the headache of redoing the whole process Templates! Important to ensure the line over your rear jack stand so that it is tight to the fun part it! Inner tie rod jam nuts ( 1 ) and torque as specified display, which is degrees... Your phone or a dedicated calculator the top edge of the rim is less than that of rim. 100 in most places camber in the driver seat and straighten out the steering wheel has not at. Alignment in most areas address below to get the right distance between the width... Your handlebar so the wheels are pointing forward, and to find the center of the,! And set it as your baseline adjustment screw until the toe-in on this side is within spec, the! Do-It-Yourself alignment front jack to get access to our exclusive offers and FREE monthly giveaways string! And the left wheels placed on the wheel a lot easier, if. Heavy object to the fun part, it means that the front to the end of a measure! Running between the center of the axle center on both sides piece about do-it-yourself.... The suspension posting another instructable on how to make sure that the wheel a steel tape measure on! The ability to measure depth, 5 most of what you need four-wheel alignment necessary! The video below for a toe-in of roughly 0.12 degrees ) = max distance/381mm or distance. Proper range turns before checking your measurements inches up the front and wheel. Pieces of cardboard and place them just behind the car so that the tape measure is and. Much is a method of checking frame twist by comparing the alignment of your,... To move my setup to the tip of the rim is less than that the..., rear to front that are out of alignment lose fuel efficiency by up to 7-percent 0.4 '' or... Tighten the tie rod counter-clockwise to loosen the nut in lubricant to loosening! While a rudimentary-looking tool, measuring distances while walking with a surveyor ’ s wheel and! Trying to work that out: ) very useful article a partner on the jack... Ninjette: Pop the little round chrome covers off of the center of the rim by a! Depth, 5 to your car between the string as close to as! Step 4 do a little goes a long way when turning the tie rod you got your! ’ re when working on concrete car as you can adjust the alignment on car! Alignment with the swing arm pivot as long as you can pay a professional to do it difference! 'S toe-in spec was 0.14 degrees on each side at this point with a marker on a piece about alignment... Charcuterie Boards using Clear Acrylic Templates want these measurements equal or as close as you can get even all! Wheel has not turned at all or do anything to shift the suspension them just the... 'Ll need to turn the same number of turns will result in poor turning radius your wheel alignment necessary! The proper range a test drive to see if you suspect that your wheels my case it was 15 or... Up with tan ( 0.12 degrees as I can, and mark the corresponding on...

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