Adjusting toe alignment on wheels

Front wheels wrongly aligned cause uneven tyre wear and may seriously affect the car's handling.

Toe-in or toe-out - the amount by which the wheels are closer or further apart at their front edges than at their rear edges - is adjustable on all cars.

The setting can go wrong because of an incorrect adjustment, or through driving hard on to a kerb.

Camber - the angle at which a wheel leans in or out - is not normally adjustable. But if you find that it is different on the two sides of the car, something is wrong with the tyres, wheels or suspension. Check them 

The amount of toe-in or toe-out is very small - typically 0.3 to 1.6 mm - and must be set by a garage with special equipment. But you can make a rough adjustment by altering track-rod lengths.

To roughly check toe setting, use a length of string, preferably, or new, unkinked electrical wire.

Camber, too, can be checked only approximately, because the sidewall of a modern radial-ply tyre always bulges outwards slightly in the area where the tyre contacts the ground. Most car wheels lean out at the top, so deviation from the vertical is measured at the bottom.

If you suspect from irregular tyre wear that something is wrong, check both the toe settings and the camber to make sure the car is drivable.

Adjust the toe setting if necessary so that you can safely drive the car to a garage for expert attention.

Check the toe setting if you have dismantled and reassembled any part of the track or tie rods, and again have a garage re-check it.