Wheel Alignment | Columbia, MD | AutoStream Car Care Center

Wheel to Wheels: Your Vehicle’s Steering System

The Importance of Proper Wheel Alignment

When you operate your vehicle, your steering wheel is designed to direct the other four, but this can’t work as intended unless the wheels are properly aligned. That’s why AutoStream Car Care Center in Columbia, Maryland, has been steering customers in the right direction with accurate wheel alignments since 1999. What’s more, our ASE certified technicians are qualified to provide that same great service regardless of which make or model auto you drive.

How the Steering Wheel Directs Your Car

Perhaps you’re wondering how the steering wheel tells your vehicle’s wheels what to do. The five wheels work together using angles. As you’re driving and holding the wheel straight, turning it, etc., you dictate the angle of the steering wheel. In turn, the wheels follow that lead, turning the car in the selected direction. The integrity of the relationship between the steering wheel and the lower four impacts your ability to control the vehicle. Most cars link the upper and lower wheels using rack-and-pinion steering. The steering wheel is located at one end of a shaft, while the other connects to the pinion. This is a round gear that connects to the rack. A rack is a scored rod with notches reaching from the left to right front wheels. The pinion rolls from one notch to another as you steer. This pushes the rod in the desired direction and makes the wheels move.

Why Wheel Alignment Matters in Steering

Maybe your next question is why wheel alignment is such a big part of a conversation about steering. In short, you can’t really talk about one without the other. Wheel alignment addresses the relationship between the wheels, axles, and automobile. When the wheels are aligned properly, your vehicle’s tires maintain suitable contact with the road surface, giving you the control you need. It also prevents premature or uneven tire wear and helps preserve other components. The kind of wheel alignment a technician performs depends on the specific kind of vehicle you drive and any issues detected. The technician will measure and adjust as needed the camber, caster, toe, and thrust angles. Camber is the tilt of the wheels to the left or right (viewed from the front), and caster is the slope of a line that could extend through the upper and lower ball joints. Toe refers to the difference in distance between the front and back of the front tires. Thrust is the relationship between the rear axle and front wheels.

Help for Steering and Alignment

As you can see, your car steers as it should when it has sound wheel alignment. Don’t take a chance on your safety. For wheel alignment checks and service, visit AutoStream Car Care Center in Columbia, Maryland.

Written by Doug Grills