Many experts consider the steering system to be a significant influence on the safety of a car. It plays a vital role after the brake system.
- What is a steering wheel?
- Causes of the steering wheel vibrations
- Distinguishing steering wheel alignment and wheel dynamic balancing
- What is wheel alignment?
- Why is it necessary to calibrate the steering wheel?
- When should the steering wheel be calibrated?
- How long does it take to calibrate the steering wheel and is it high or low cost?
- How to adjust the steering wheel?
- Final Words
What is a steering wheel?
Steering is a phenomenon in which a car suddenly loses control because of wheel failure. Many people often think that this phenomenon is often misunderstood as being caused by old cars, bad roads, or because car owners do not change their tires periodically.
Causes of the steering wheel vibrations
The causes of this phenomenon are incorrect wheel angle, uneven wear, misaligned steering wheel, and incorrect wheel alignment. These cause the steering wheel to shift to one side and the phenomenon of steering to the left. The driving style of many drivers causes the root of the misalignment of the steering wheel or the camber.
According to car driving experience, the most common cause of this phenomenon is incorrect wheel alignment. Driving with incorrect wheel alignment for a long time will cause the tires to wear unevenly and shift to one side. When traveling at high speed, there is also a vibration phenomenon. Even when trying to go straight, the steering wheel was still turned to the side. The car was very hard to steer.
Distinguishing steering wheel alignment and wheel dynamic balancing
Many customers confuse the steering wheel alignment and wheel dynamic balance. These are two completely original concepts. The essence of wheel dynamic balancing is to minimize the differences in weight distribution during wheel fabrication.
It helps the wheels rotate evenly without causing unnecessary vibrations. Meanwhile, steering wheel alignment or suspension alignment is the change of angle. In this stage, they are the same as specified by the manufacturer.
What is wheel alignment?
Wheels have a decisive influence on performing the car because this is the only part that is in direct contact with the road surface. It is also responsible for supporting the entire weight of the vehicle. There are many reasons, both aim and subjective, that make the wheel alignment angle deviate from the manufacturer's standard.
Reason for wheel alignment
After a period, the links of the suspension and steering system will be worn or broken. It can also be because the driver often climbs the car onto the sidewalk at a diagonal angle. Because wheel alignment deviations occur gradually and do not bring immediate consequences, most drivers are subjective or unaware of this problem.
There are vehicles with the deviation that are detected early. The impact is not significant, but some vehicles have to suffer obvious consequences before being taken away by the car owner.
Why do we need the wheel alignment?
Failure to detect and adjust in time can lead to several dangerous situations for both the vehicle and the occupants, such as uneven tire wear, wheel jitter, steering wheel tendency to shift to one side. When the vehicle is going straight, the wheel position is out of alignment or even becomes out of control.
Optimum wheel angle design makes operation smoother and safer and ensures the durability of mechanical components. Therefore, in actual use and maintenance, the owners need to maintain the original standard by periodically checking and adjusting when necessary.
Why is it necessary to calibrate the steering wheel?
Aligning the steering wheel ensures precise control, minimizing problems related to the vehicle's stability and handling. In addition, the goal of aligning the steering wheel is mainly to minimize uneven wear and tear, ensuring tire life and overall safety when operating the vehicle.
When should the steering wheel be calibrated?
If you notice your vehicle skewing significantly to the left or right when you are traveling on a straight, flat road with no wind, or your tires are wearing abnormally, you need to check the alignment of the steering wheel. Specifically, you need to bring the car to calibrate the steering wheel in the following cases:
- After the car has been in an accident or encounters severe cases such as collapsing potholes, potholes, and climbing high curbs.
- Uneven tire wear.
- The vehicle's steering wheel is not in the center position. When the vehicle is moving in a straight line, it shifts to the left or right.
- The steering wheel often vibrates and does not turn after cornering or turning.
- Every six months or 15,000 - 20,000 kilometer/time, it is ideal to bring the car to a genuine service center or a reputable garage to calibrate the steering wheel.
How long does it take to calibrate the steering wheel and is it high or low cost?
Aligning the front and rear wheels is a straightforward process and can be done quickly, usually within 30 minutes to one hour. The cost depends on the type of vehicle and the place where it is done is a workshop or an external garage.
How to adjust the steering wheel?
As mentioned above, the change of the steering wheel is the change of the parameters of the precision and the angle of the wheel under the regulations of the manufacturer. The three main parameters in adjusting the steering wheel are camber angle, caster angle, and wheel alignment.
It is the angle of inclination of the wheel when viewed from the front of the vehicle. The part of the wheel tilted outward will form a positive camber angle (+) and vice versa. The part of the wheel tilted inward is a negative camber (-).
If the wheel is too tilted inward or outward, the camber angle parameter deviates from the manufacturer's requirements. The front tire will be worn unevenly, affecting the service life. The camber angle is designed and adjusted to each vehicle model to optimize the tire's ability to run in a straight line and during cornering. If there is too much difference between the front wheel camber angles, the car will pull to the side.
The caster angle is the angle of inclination of the steering axle when viewed from the side of the vehicle. When the steering shaft tilts backward, it is a positive caster angle (+), otherwise, it is a negative caster angle (-). Most passenger cars have a positive caster angle, meaning the steering axle is tilted towards the driver.
The caster angle affects the vehicle's stability in a straight line and its ability to return after cornering. The correct change of the caster angle will help the car run stably on a straight line. Besides, returning to the car when cornering is also easier and smoother.
The camber is the angle at which the front wheels come in or flare out when viewed from above. When the two wheels come together, it will form a toe-in and vice versa, a toe-out.
The way to identify the problems of pinching is simple because it directly affects the smoothness of the vehicle when operating. When the driver notices that the front and the steering wheel are shaking, they should continue to check the front tires of the vehicle.
If the tire wear is uneven, the wear is jagged between the treads, and worse, the tire is damaged, it is a sign of the precision being deviated from the default parameters from the manufacturer. If we press the two wheels in too much, it will corrode the outside of the tire. Otherwise, it will corrode the inside of the tire.
The tire alignment affects the braking system and driving experience as mentioned above. Figure out how and when to do the alignment will make your driving experience more comfortable and effective. In this article, we have shown all the ways to do the alignment and relevant adjustment. If you have any questions, please comment below!