Is Tracking the Same as Wheel Alignment?

Most drivers have experienced a car service in their automotive career that has resulted in needing new tyres, or even suspension, as a result of knocking your tracking out on bumpy roads. With potholes a regular sight on British roads, there’s no surprise that wheel alignment is a regular issue. Let Scrap Car Comparison guide you through everything you need to know about your car’s tracking.

Close up of the wheels on one side of a car

What is wheel alignment?

Wheel alignment, otherwise known as ‘tracking’, is the term for the angle and direction at which your wheels point when on the road. You’ll often hear toes mentioned a lot when discussing your tracking. This has nothing to do with your feet, however, and rather refers to the angle at which your wheels sit when they’re making contact with the ground. ‘Toe-in’ sees the top of the wheel leaning closer to the car itself, while ‘toe-out’ sees the wheels pointing out from under the wheel arches.

Is wheel alignment necessary?

If you allow your wheels to get knocked out of alignment as you’re driving along and don’t do anything about it, you’re just going to end up costing yourself even more money in the long run. Failure to keep your wheels looked after correctly could result in suffering from a lack of handling stability and will also cause your tyres to wear unevenly – prompting an earlier trip to the nearest tyre specialist than you’d have hoped for.

Cars with too much toe-in will see the inner shoulder of their tyres wear much faster than the outer, while toe-out has the same effect but on the outer shoulder. You may also hear scrubbing or squealing noises at low speed, vibrations through your steering wheel or even pulling to one side without you turning the wheel. All of these problems could combine to result in an accident, which then might mean you’ll need to scrap your car entirely!

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How long does wheel alignment take?

On average, wheel alignment shouldn’t take any more than an hour of your time, so just long enough for you to be able to get your wheels sorted while you pop into town for your lunch break. Of course, as with all mechanical jobs, if there’s a significant amount of damage or parts need replacing, it could take longer, so it’s always worth giving yourself a little bit of wiggle room, just in case.

What is wheel tracking?

You may hear the term wheel tracking used alongside wheel alignment when heading down to your local garage to sort potential issues, but you might wonder what they both actually mean. Well, we’ve already explained wheel alignment, and tracking is exactly the same thing. The two terms are interchangeable, meaning to sort out your tracking is also the same act as getting your wheels aligned.

Do you need tracking on all four wheels?

Tracking only works correctly if all four wheels are pointing in the same direction. If just one wheel is out of line, then your wear will be uneven and potentially affect the way your car handles. All it takes is one badly placed bump or pothole in the road and it can throw your entire wheel out of line, and before you know it you’re heading to the garage to get your wheels straightened out again or to our scrap car price calculator to cut your losses before an expensive repair bill.

Get the best price for your car with Scrap Car Comparison

If your car’s been through the wars and its wheel alignment is just one of a multitude of problems plaguing it, then perhaps it’s time to find something new. With Scrap Car Comparison, we can help you get rid of your tired old banger and put some money in your bank account to help you get something newer and more reliable.

With specialist scrap and salvage buyers dotted all over the country, not only can we find you an unbeatable price, but we’ll also be able to come and get your car direct from your driveway, at no extra cost to you. Get started today by getting in touch with the team and you could find out just how much your old car could be worth in as little as 60 seconds.

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