All you need to know about wheel alignment for your Mazda
Your wheels are an integral part of your vehicle, and ensuring they are in good condition is key to keeping your vehicle running efficiently and extending its longevity. Hitting potholes, kerbs or driving on uneven surfaces can cause your wheels to become misaligned. When this happens, it can negatively affect the performance of your car and increase wear and tear on your tyres. If this is your situation, you should get your wheels aligned as soon as possible to avoid significant damage to your tyres or suspension.
If you are experiencing wheel alignment or other issues with your Mazda vehicle, make sure you get it serviced where they use genuine Mazda parts. At Mandurah Mazda, we use genuine Mazda parts because only they are specially designed to keep your Mazda in top shape.
What is wheel alignment?
Wheel alignment means adjusting the angle of your wheels relative to each other, the body of your car and the ground. It should not be confused with wheel balancing which refers to adjusting the weight distribution of a wheel/tyre.
Wheel alignment is a fairly simple process, using a wheel alignment machine to measure the amount of adjustment required and then making those adjustments to the car’s suspension. Three of the most important elements of wheel alignment are the angles called camber, caster and toe.
Camber is the angle of the wheel when viewing your vehicle from the front. Look at the top of your wheel and consider if it is leaning towards or away from the body of your car. A negative camber refers to the top of a wheel leaning towards the car whereas a positive camber refers to the top of the wheel leaning away from the body of the car.
If the camber angle is misaligned, one side of the tyre will be worn out much more quickly than the other side. If you have a different camber angle on either side of your car, you may experience your car pulling towards the side with a more positive camber.
On some front-wheel-drive cars, the camber angle cannot be adjusted. If the camber is out of alignment for these cars, something will probably need repairing or replacing with genuine Mazda parts.
When you turn your steering wheel, the front wheels of your car turn on a pivot. Caster refers to the angle of that pivot in relation to the vertical when looking at the side of a wheel. A positive caster means the top of the pivot is leaning towards the back of the car. In contrast, a negative caster means the top of the pivot is leaning towards the front of the car.
If both wheels have the same amount of positive caster, steering will feel heavy but if both wheels have too much negative caster, the steering will feel light, and it will be difficult to keep the car in a straight line. If the caster is different on either side, you will feel your car pull to the side with a less positive caster.
Toe refers to the angle of the tyres compared to the centerline of your vehicle if you were looking at it from above. Alternatively, you can think about it as the distance between the front of two wheels compared to the distance between the back of those two wheels.
Toe-in means the fronts of the tyres are closer together than the back of the tyres, kind of like if you stand with your toes closer together than your heels. Toe-out refers to the opposite, as if your heels are closer together and your toes pointing out.
Incorrect toe-in will lead to wearing down of tyres very quickly. Toe angle is adjustable for the front wheels of all cars, but only for the back wheels in some cars.
How to tell if you need wheel alignment
The following symptoms may indicate you have a wheel alignment issue:
🔴 Your car is pulling excessively to one side.
🔴 Your steering wheel isn’t centred properly.
🔴 Your steering wheel vibrates unnaturally when driving.
🔴 You can hear squeaking, knocking or rubbing noises. These could indicate a steering or suspension problem.
🔴 Your tyres show uneven wear. Look out for ‘feathering’ where the tyres are smooth on one side and sharp on the other and ‘saw tooth’ where one side of the tread blocks wears down more quickly than another. Also, wearing more on the inside or outside of the tyre tread than the centre could indicate a camber angle issue.
If you suspect there is a problem with your wheel alignment, ask an expert at your local Mazda dealership. Our team at Mandurah Mazda can help you diagnose any problems you might be experiencing, and can service your Mazda vehicle to get you on the road again in no time.
What’s so important about wheel alignment?
An issue with your wheel alignment can lead to significant consequences. Increased wear and tear on your tyres could be dangerous and costly. Unnatural steering could be a potential safety risk and will likely make driving less pleasurable. Driving with misaligned wheels could even lead to damage of your suspension and brakes, which would be costly to replace and dangerous to drive with.
For your safety, overall driving experience and for the health of your vehicle, it is best to get your car serviced as soon as possible if any issues with wheel alignment arise.
Service your Mazda with genuine Mazda parts
You should get your wheel alignment checked regularly as part of your 6-monthly or 10,000 km service. If you hit a kerb or pothole, it is advised you also get your wheel alignment checked professionally. It’s best not to delay wheel alignment servicing, as it could have serious consequences to the performance and longevity of your Mazda vehicle.
If your Mazda vehicle needs servicing for wheel alignment or any other issues, be sure to choose a service provider who uses genuine Mazda parts. At Mandurah Mazda, we only use genuine Mazda parts to ensure the best service for your car, to keep it running in top shape. Book a service for your car with us by calling 08 9583 1600 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.