Chat Wheel alignemnt checks - WELL worth doing

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
Hi,

One thing I have learned over the years of A2 ownership is that for some reason they seem to need frequent (annual normally) wheel alignment checks.

So many of our A2s have had the inner tyre tread worn on the front tyres, long before the rest of the tyre tread.

It just seems to be a "feature" of the A2, BUT for not a lot of money the benefits are significant.

Not to mention safety, especially in the wet.

But having this done recently has led to a noticeable improvement in MPG.
Currently I am doing a very regular journey to and from work at consistent speeds. It is a journey of around 50 miles each way 45 miles of which is motorway miles.
The Average MPG was more or less steady at 47 MPG (most of the journey is around 70 to 75 (indicated)) so not the most economical speeds.
The weather conditions were all VERY similar as was the traffic speeds (no traffic jams or "start stop" driving.

After the wheel alignment I am now getting 51 mpg consistently. Of course this is not a scientific comparison, but it does show a noticeable improvement.
Add to that the saving on tyre wear and it is a really valuable check / adjustment. (and a safety improvement as I say).

Granted you will only get these savings if your alignment is out, but the beauty is that most tyre places will do a free check and so you basically can't lose.

A 3 mile improvement in MPG equates (roughly) to an extra 20 ish miles per tank. (You try walking that!) over time that small saving mounts up.

So worth a try?

Steve B
 
Last edited:

Pinkythelabrat

A2OC Donor
Hi,

One thing I have learned over the years of A2 ownership is that for some reason they seem to need frequent (annual normally) wheel alignment checks.

So many of our A2s have had the inner tyre tread worn on the front tyres, long before the rest of the tyre tread.

It just seems to be a "feature" of the A2, BUT for not a lot of money the benefits are significant.

Not to mention safety, especially in the wet.

But having this done recently has led to a noticeable improvement in MPG.
Currently I am doing a very regular journey to and from work at consistent speeds. It is a journey of around 50 miles each way 45 miles of which is motorway miles.
The Average MPG was more or less steady at 47 MPG (most of the journey is around 70 to 75 (indicated)) so not the most economical speeds.
The weather conditions were all VERY similar as was the traffic speeds (no traffic jams or "start stop" driving.

After the wheel alignment I am now getting 51 mpg consistently. Of course this is not a scientific comparison, but it does show a noticeable improvement.
Add to that the saving on tyre wear and it is a really valuable check / adjustment. (and a safety improvement as I say).

Granted you will only get these savings if your alignment is out, but the beauty is that most tyre places will do a free check and so you basically can't lose.

A 3 mile improvement in MPG equates (roughly) to an extra 20 ish miles per tank ! You try walking that!) over time that small saving mounts up.

So worth a try?

Steve B
Thanks Steve,

Looking at what this does I agree it's a safety issue.

My only problem is every time I get it done the car seems to pull a little to the left until I get it aligned again (mentioning the left pull). Not sure why - is that a common issue (ps. I know about camber )

When I first got the car I had to hold the wheel over 20degrees to go straight, the steering wheel shook like crazy at 60 mph and within a fortnight you could see white cord on the inner edge of the front tyres. Scary!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
Thanks Steve,

Looking at what this does I agree it's a safety issue.

My only problem is every time I get it done the car seems to pull a little to the left until I get it aligned again (mentioning the left pull). Not sure why - is that a common issue (ps. I know about camber )

When I first got the car I had to hold the wheel over 20degrees to go straight, the steering wheel shook like crazy at 60 mph and within a fortnight you could see white cord on the inner edge of the front tyres. Scary!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Yes, I do worry sometimes about some garages that perhaps do not train their operators correctly but it should be quite rare for a garage to make it worse like that. I always stick to the larger tyre places with the latest kit.


Pulling to the left is common but only on roads with a camber (the centre of the road slightly higher than the kerb area of the road) if the car pulls either way on a flat road, then there is a problem.

I cannot imagine how steering alignment (however bad) can cause a steering wheel shake at 60, there must have been some other suspension issues going on too.

But it is still better to have it checked though, of course.

Steve B
 

JIGSAW

Banned
possibly something else is amiss like a slightly bent stub or lower control arm as you say it pulls left when set correctly and pulled the tyres apart originally , perhaps it found a nasty pothole at somepoint in its life or kerbed at speed
 

spud

Member
Hi,

One thing I have learned over the years of A2 ownership is that for some reason they seem to need frequent (annual normally) wheel alignment checks.

So many of our A2s have had the inner tyre tread worn on the front tyres, long before the rest of the tyre tread.

It just seems to be a "feature" of the A2, BUT for not a lot of money the benefits are significant.

Not to mention safety, especially in the wet.

But having this done recently has led to a noticeable improvement in MPG.
Currently I am doing a very regular journey to and from work at consistent speeds. It is a journey of around 50 miles each way 45 miles of which is motorway miles.
The Average MPG was more or less steady at 47 MPG (most of the journey is around 70 to 75 (indicated)) so not the most economical speeds.
The weather conditions were all VERY similar as was the traffic speeds (no traffic jams or "start stop" driving.

After the wheel alignment I am now getting 51 mpg consistently. Of course this is not a scientific comparison, but it does show a noticeable improvement.
Add to that the saving on tyre wear and it is a really valuable check / adjustment. (and a safety improvement as I say).

Granted you will only get these savings if your alignment is out, but the beauty is that most tyre places will do a free check and so you basically can't lose.

A 3 mile improvement in MPG equates (roughly) to an extra 20 ish miles per tank. (You try walking that!) over time that small saving mounts up.

So worth a try?

Steve B
Great piece of information Steve, mine seems to be OK. Had a blow out last week so I had it check while I got a new tyre fitted. Regards Spud

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Pinkythelabrat

A2OC Donor
It was Kwik Fit with the latest tech most recently. The pull is only noticeable if I let the wheel go on a flat - quite minor compared to how I was when I first got it.

Nothing in the suspension has been replaced since I got the car so it was purely alignment issues. My guess is a really big pothole threw it miles out and the tyres fought each other.



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Kennedy

A2OC Donor
Some good points Steve! I have new tyres are going on mine this weekend but I'm not doing the wheel alignment and tracking just yet...

...but when my coilovers are on and settled in I'll be taking it straight back to be trued up for optimum (slow) wear rate! can't afford to wreck tyres now I've spanked a load of money on my suspension set up!

It will be interesting to see how much my MPG figure changes with new matched tyres and a much lower stiffer suspension set up.
Kennedy.
 

RAB

Technical Specialist 1.2 TDI
The problem with so called wheel alignment is that it always done statically. The intention is to set up the geometry so that the front wheels are parallel under traction. As the set-up is done statically, an assumption has to be made about the amount of play in the mechanism. Therefore FWD cars are set up toe-out and RWD toe-in. The “assumption” is not always correct, especially with increasing age. Too much toe-out under traction will cause the inner edge to rub against itself, get hot and soften, leading to wear.

RAB
 

Pras

A2OC Donor
Is there even an adjustment for the rear wheels on the A2?

I've just replaced the tie rod ends as it was an advisory on the last MOT.

Cheapest alignment I found is with National tyres 50% off which makes it £17.50.
Front wheels only. Hence my question.
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
I have had this before where one company sat there is no adjustment and yet I have watched the screen as it shows them adjusting it.

I saw the before and after sheet and the rear was adjusted.

I would have said that I am pretty sure that there is no adjustment. I am quite confident about that but as I say. I saw the adjustment made.
So I am confused too.
Steve B
 

philward

A2OC Donor
After 140K miles I'm taking my A2 for its first ever geometry check tomorrow. I'll report back how I get on.
 

Birchall

Dick Chown Award 2016
They are prone to need tracking quite often, but if you have no issues such as uneven tyre wear or squealing on sharp turns in multi storey car parks, then well done on getting so far without needing it.

Steve B
 

philward

A2OC Donor
Just got back from National Tyres; had to print a 50% off voucher before I went. Front wheel alignment needed adjustment. I fully expected it would as I replaced ball joints and track rod ends just before Christmas,

I thought the wooden steering feel was due to new joints. However not so, the steering now feels much lighter and more responsive. I was charged £14.50. Worth every penny as, no doubt, I would have already started to scrub off my front tyres even if the damage cant be seen at this stage.
 

Pras

A2OC Donor
Thanks for letting us know.
I went to national tyres today to have my car booked in for Saturday. And he said yes no problem but they won't be able to adjust the camber and stated that this might be out if the tie rod ends have been changed...
He then recommended some places that have the "hunter alignment"

Is this correct?
 

philward

A2OC Donor
Pras, I'm a bit of an enthusiastic DIY mechanic so the experts may have a different opinion. The three bolt clamp fixing ball joints are quite common. I have them on my Golf, my A2 and my wife's Mercedes. I thought if you replaced these joints then then the camber angle had to be adjusted.
A couple of years ago I had an advisory on one of these joints on the Merc. I asked the Mechanics about camber angle setting and was advised there is so little adjustment it is not necessary. It is very true fit one with all three bolts and see how little movement there is.

I have replaced these joints on all three cars without any adverse effects. Interestingly the Golf does provide for camber angle adjustment but this is at the point where the strut is clamped to the hub casting. I have special bolts on my Golf to get the camber correct. If I'm wrong I have been lucky and the experts will soon be commenting to put records right. :)
 

philward

A2OC Donor
Just got back from National Tyres; had to print a 50% off voucher before I went. Front wheel alignment needed adjustment. I fully expected it would as I replaced ball joints and track rod ends just before Christmas,

I thought the wooden steering feel was due to new joints. However not so, the steering now feels much lighter and more responsive. I was charged £14.50. Worth every penny as, no doubt, I would have already started to scrub off my front tyres even if the damage cant be seen at this stage.
It stops better too, stronger and straighter
 

Kleynie

A2OC Donor
Thanks for letting us know.
I went to national tyres today to have my car booked in for Saturday. And he said yes no problem but they won't be able to adjust the camber and stated that this might be out if the tie rod ends have been changed...
He then recommended some places that have the "hunter alignment"

Is this correct?
The hunter machine is the Rolls Royce alignment machine, I have my BM done on a hunter machine. If you can find one that’s the way to go.
 

Al2coholic

Member
The hunter machine is the Rolls Royce alignment machine, I have my BM done on a hunter machine. If you can find one that’s the way to go.
The hunter alignment equipment is just as useless as the lesser equipment... unless its operated by someone that knows how to use it.

Here in lies the crux with seeking out the best equipment...

I agree Steve B, Tracking correction has made a huge improvement in MPG, tire wear, wet grip and steering feel on cars in my past ownership too.
 

Pras

A2OC Donor
had mine done today. £15. they needed some adjustment as they where toeing in too much
 
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