Laser Four Wheel Alignment
Using calibrated laser 4-wheel alignment equipment to measure the geometrical angles of the steering & suspension during a full, forensic examination of a vehicle is essential to evaluate certain claims often made that a vehicle’s geometry is out of true and accident causation.
There are a number of angles which can affect a vehicle’s handling, tyre wear characteristics and fuel efficiency.
At the front of the vehicle are caster, KPI (kingpin inclination), SAI (steering axis inclination), camber & toe (tracking) angles.
There is also set-back and toe-out on turns which can be measured and some of those angles can be adjusted.
At the rear of the car are toe, camber and thrust angles some of which are adjustable.
Hunter Engineering Company who produce premium, professional quality wheel alignment equipment for garages specialising in vehicle alignment also produce this video guide to wheel alignment that explains some of the principles of wheel alignment.
It is not always possible or proportionate in terms of costs to transport a vehicle from the site of a forensic examination to a specialist garage equipped with the sort of equipment Hunter produce and so the ability to accurately carry out 4-wheel alignment checks using the sort of equipment I carry to use where the vehicle is situated is, therefore, often crucial.
In the claims process wheel alignment is often misunderstood, guessed at or mis-used emotively as a threat that a damaged vehicle cannot be used on the road because of a real or perceived requirement of a wheel alignment check otherwise known as a geometry check.
This can incorrectly add to the cost of a claim for storage and replacement hire whilst the car is off the road.
I often see vehicles where an assessor has said it is un-roadworthy just because it needs a wheel alignment check when a wheel has been lightly damaged or just brushed or the bodywork near to a wheel had been damaged in a collision.
This is just nonsense!
A car is un-roadworthy not because it needs a wheel alignment check but for what the results of a wheel alignment check might inform if it were to be carried out and I know of no assessor who carries around wheel alignment gauges.
Further, the chance a car’s wheel alignment may be knocked out of adjustment in my experience for some of the scuffs for which I see cars taken off the road is rare.
Vehicles are designed to corner at high speeds imposing far greater forces than some wheel damage could ever impose and whilst a judgement as to the likelihood wheel alignment may be out of true can be made, however, this remains opinion until a wheel alignment check by me forensically proves whether a vehicle’s wheel alignment was affected at all or beyond the need of adjustment.
The result of this can reduce or eliminate costly storage & hire costs and often the unnecessary replacement cost of steering and suspension components many garages and assessors include in their initial “guessessments” or “guesstimates” for commercial or other reasons known only to themselves when they don’t really know such damage or misalignment exists at all.