12th Street Auto Care Center is proud to be ASE and AAA certified. That means you can trust our mechanics to thoroughly inspect your car, truck, van or SUV’s front end. Our technicians will take care of any of your vehicles needs, including routine maintenance, diagnostics, repairs and replacements. So let 12th Street Auto Care Center provide friendly, professional service every time.
The front end of your vehicle contains many of the important parts your car, van, truck or SUV require to move efficiently and in a straight line. When you get front end work, it’s often simply referred to as a front end alignment, or a 2-wheel alignment. That’s where your technician ensures all the parts are positioned at the correct angles so they work well together and your car can be driven smoothly. Here’s a quick explanation of how your mechanic measures your front end alignment.
When inspecting your tires, your mechanic will take a look at whether they’re leaning. If you stand in front of your vehicle and look at the tires, they should face straight toward you. If the tops of the wheels seem to be tilting toward each other, they are experiencing what’s called negative camber. If the tops of the wheels seem to be tilted away from each other, they are at positive camber — but don’t misconstrue the word “positive” as a a good thing. Your tires can be misaligned without being visibly obvious, but if they are this bad, you’ll need to get an alignment ASAP.
When standing to the side of your vehicle, your tires should be centered. If they aren’t, the steering axis is likely experiencing a bend, break or tilt. When the wheels appear to be more forward than they should be, they are at negative caster. If they’re more toward the back of your car, it is at positive caster.
To visually inspect the toe, you would need a bird’s-eye-view of your car. From this angle, if the front of your tires are tilted toward or away from each other, the alignment is off. If your wheels are leaning toward each other, it’s called toe-in. If they’re facing away from each other, it’s toe-out.
Your thrust measurements are taken by measuring whether the front and rear axles are parallel to each other.
Though the misalignments can be visible to the naked eye, that isn’t always the case. Most measurements must be taken at 12th Street Auto Care Center with special tools to see whether anything is off, even if it’s only by a centimeter or two. If anything is misaligned, other parts of your front end system can warp, bend or break.
If there isn’t an obvious misalignment, consider these signs that point to a problem with your front end.
- Squealing tires
- Uneven tire wear
- Car pulls to left or right
- Steering wheel is crooked when driving straight
When you notice something is wrong with your vehicle, or even if it’s just suddenly driving a little differently, call 12th Street Auto Care Center. Our certified mechanics are more than happy to take the measurements and reset anything that is out of place.
Napa Service Assistant
You don’t have to be an expert to know that preventive maintenance is the best way to make sure your vehicle is running properly. Use our interactive vehicle tool to learn about the maintenance and services your NAPA AutoCare Center can provide.