Front-End vs. Full Alignment: What to Know

It’s understandable to assume that all four of your wheels are adjusted for alignment. However, this isn’t necessarily true—it will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. Some cars only need a front-end alignment, while others will use a four-wheel alignment.

The right car alignment in Las Vegas, NV will help you maintain a safe, smooth ride and ensure your tires will get the longest lifespan possible. You’ll also find it to be a much better driving experience in general when you have properly aligned wheels.

But what are the differences between these two types of car wheel alignments? Let’s take a closer look.

Key differences

With front-end alignments, also known as two-wheel alignments, the mechanic will only worry about aligning the front wheels. This could include adjustments to the toes, cambers and casters. There are some vehicles that will have a solid rear axle that never needs to be adjusted, which means it will have a front-end alignment.

In this alignment, the technician may also need to perform thrust angle adjustments, a type of procedure that allows the technician to determine the squareness of all four wheels with each other.

Four-wheel alignments, then, are when all four wheels get adjusted for alignment. This is particularly common four all-wheel-drive models that have independent suspensions—in the majority of cases, they’ll need a four-wheel alignment. Service for four-wheel alignment includes a caster and front toe adjustment for the front wheels, and a camber and toe adjustment for the rear wheels.

How do you know when you need a wheel alignment?

Beyond knowing the differences between front-end vs. full alignment in Las Vegas, NV, it’s important to also have an understanding of when it becomes necessary for you to get a wheel alignment done.

There are a variety of signs of wheel misalignment to be on the lookout for so you know when to take your vehicle in to the professionals:

  • Pulling: If you’re out on the road and notice the vehicle pulling to one side while you’re driving, this is a common sign of misalignment. It will likely feel as though you need to fight against the steering wheel to keep your vehicle going straight.
  • Tire wear: Uneven wear on the tires can also be a sign of wheel alignment issues. You might notice one side getting more wear than the other. Certain types of wear are more indicative of inflation or air pressure issues, while others are more likely to indicate misalignment.
  • Visual inspection: If the alignment is bad enough, you might be able to tell the wheels are out of whack simply by looking at them. But it doesn’t take much for wheels to be considered out of alignment—in many cases you won’t be able to detect a difference just by looking at the wheels.

For more information about the differences in these types of car alignments in Las Vegas, NV and the steps you should take if you’re having alignment problems, we encourage you to contact the experts at Qwest Automotive Service today.