Understanding Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment is an essential maintenance process for any vehicle, but it is particularly crucial for performance vehicles where precise handling, stability, and tire wear are vital. This guide will help you understand the importance of proper wheel alignment for your performance vehicle and how it can significantly impact your driving experience on the track or the street.

Understanding Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment refers to the adjustment of a vehicle's suspension components to ensure that the wheels are properly aligned with each other and the road. The primary alignment angles are camber, caster, and toe. Each of these angles plays a critical role in determining the vehicle's handling characteristics, tire wear, and overall performance.

Importance of Wheel Alignment for Performance Vehicles

  1. Optimal Handling and Grip: Proper wheel alignment helps ensure that the tires maintain maximum contact with the road, providing optimal grip and handling. Misaligned wheels can result in reduced cornering performance, unpredictable handling, and a less responsive vehicle.

  2. Even Tire Wear: Correctly aligned wheels promote even tire wear, prolonging the life of your tires and reducing the need for frequent replacements. Misaligned wheels can cause excessive and uneven tire wear, which can lead to reduced grip, compromised handling, and increased costs.

  3. Improved Stability and Predictability: A well-aligned vehicle is more stable and predictable, especially at high speeds and during aggressive cornering. This can improve driver confidence, allowing for faster lap times on the track and a safer driving experience on the street.

  4. Increased Fuel Efficiency: Proper wheel alignment reduces rolling resistance, which can lead to improved fuel efficiency. Misaligned wheels can increase fuel consumption due to increased tire drag.

  5. Reduced Suspension Component Wear: Misaligned wheels can cause increased stress and wear on suspension components, such as bushings, ball joints, and tie rods. Ensuring that your vehicle's wheels are correctly aligned can help prolong the life of these components and reduce maintenance costs.

Wheel Alignment Process

  1. Preparation: Before a wheel alignment, ensure that your vehicle's tire pressures, suspension components, and corner balancing are all within their proper specifications. It's also essential to account for any aftermarket modifications, such as lowered suspension or wider wheels, which may affect the alignment settings.

  2. Alignment Equipment: Wheel alignment should be performed using specialized equipment, such as a computerized alignment machine or laser alignment system, to ensure accurate and precise measurements.

  3. Professional Assistance: Wheel alignment can be a complex process, requiring specialized equipment and expertise. It's highly recommended to seek professional assistance from a reputable performance shop or alignment specialist to ensure accurate results.

  4. Alignment Settings: For performance vehicles, it's essential to use the manufacturer's recommended alignment settings or consult with a suspension expert for custom alignment settings tailored to your driving preferences and usage (e.g., track, autocross, or spirited street driving).


Proper wheel alignment is crucial for optimizing the handling, stability, and overall performance of a performance vehicle. By ensuring that your vehicle's wheels are correctly aligned, you can achieve improved grip, even tire wear, and enhanced predictability, allowing you to push your vehicle to its limits with confidence. Regular wheel alignment checks and adjustments are an essential part of your performance vehicle's maintenance to maximize performance, safety, and longevity.