What Is the Difference Between a Wheel Alignment and Front End Alignment?

If you notice that you keep veering right or left when driving, you may need a vehicle alignment. By getting this type of service done, you're ensuring a smoother and safer ride, all while extending the life of your wheels. Your car has four wheels, and all of them should be adjusted for alignment, right? Not exactly. Your vehicle may simply only need a front-end alignment.


Front End Alignment versus Wheel Alignment

Alignment is the arrangement of the suspension system that assists in supporting and turning the vehicle properly. Wheels must be in perfect alignment for all tires to work simultaneously by rotating in unison and traveling in the same direction. A slight divergence in the angle of your wheels can negatively affect the suspension system causing irreversible damage and premature tire wear.


A front wheel alignment, also referred to as a 2-wheel alignment, means the alignment only takes place in the front wheels so that they run parallel to the center of your car. While this is the most simple alignment, this service is not recommended for newer vehicles as it excludes the rear angles of the wheels.


A thrust alignment is the type of alignment you'll need if your automobile does not include an alterable rear suspension system. While only the front wheels are accounted for, they are aligned as closely as possible to the thrust line, which is where the back wheels are aimed. This adjustment offsets this difference to allow a centralized steering wheel.


A 4-wheel alignment is typically only performed on vehicles with four-wheel independent suspension systems. Your trusted mechanic will adjust all four wheels. However, the adjustment will vary from front to rear. The adjustment includes the toe, caster, and camber on the front wheels, whereas the rear will have the toe and camber. 


As you can see, there isn't a huge difference between each type of alignment. All alignment services have the same objective, which is to stabilize and safen your drive. If you are in need of an alignment, please visit Torque Automotive today.