In order to be successful in the world of wheel care it is imperative that the astute garage owner invests in the correct equipment in the right areas. With wheel sizes and weight increasing it is apparent that it is critical to have the appropriate tyre changing and balancing equipment, potentially looking to couple these services with geometry alignment to increase profitability still further.
You may notice that I referred to ‘geometry alignment’ and not wheel alignment. Don’t confuse the two! Wheel alignment ensures that the wheels are aligned front and back to prevent the vehicle scrubbing it’s tyres as it drives along. Tracking gauges (usually the hang-on style) are used and the operator views a light/laser beam on a scale. This system does not allow for any run out compensation (taking account for any errors in the wheel rim), so the reading result can only at best be approximate.
To ensure total alignment a full chassis and geometry check is required as on all vehicles the vehicles geometry can move out of alignment, this is commonly known as misalignment. There are several reasons why cars become misaligned. Either through everyday driving, but factors such as kerbing, hitting a potholes etc., can alter it dramatically. Worn suspension parts are also another reason why a vehicle may become misaligned. There is also one other way that the vehicle can have been presented in a misaligned condition and this would be through previous poor adjustment.
A true geometry check measures a minimum of 12 angles and compares them to the alignment data specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Wheel rim run-out compensation is taken into account, which gives accurate and repeatable readings. With such accurate readings, Four Wheel Alignment allows toe adjustments of individual wheels which ensure the steering wheel is set straight. Further adjustments of camber, caster and other angles (where necessary) can ensure optimum performance and savings.
If you are seriously looking at getting into wheel alignment or are a dedicated alignment site then you could look at either a STR200 or STR400 system. These state of the art machines can provide you with accurate, repeatable wheel alignments and will allow you to extract the maximum revenue from wheel alignment by conducting the job correctly and then advertising as so.
For those garages who are just looking to add wheel alignment ‘capability’ to their garages the simple laser system would suffice, but this could maybe be combined with a sideslip tester to trigger the potential sale. A sideslip tester is a flat plate over which the vehicle drives. Within the sideslip tester is the capability to accurately measure the sideways motion of the tyre over the mechanical relaxation plate and display that condition by means of a wall mounted display, Vehicles which activate the sideslip tester display can then be targeted for the sale of wheel alignment services.
For wheel alignment advice call our alignment specialist on 0844 800 9785.