Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Wheel Alignments

When your vehicle’s alignment is off, it can have a significant impact on your safety. Misalignment affects the steering, durability of tires and the suspension; all of which can impact your safety. Different vehicle models have their alignment specifications, which are put in place by the manufacturer. Here at Santa Cruz Toyota in Santa Cruz County, we use a computerized alignment device that is pre-loaded with the alignment specifications of every vehicle model. We offer all types of wheel alignment services, including alignment checks, two-wheel alignments, and four-wheel alignments.

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What are the Signs of Misalignment?

Regardless of the model of vehicle you drive in Capitola, proper wheel alignment is essential when comes to the protection of your tires, your vehicle and all the people inside the vehicle. It’s not always apparent that there are issues with the wheel alignment, but some signs to be aware of may include, your vehicle pulling to the right or the left, the tires are wearing quickly and unevenly, the tires squeal when you turn or accelerate and/or the steering is crooked when you are driving straight.

What is an Alignment Check?

Alignment means that your vehicle’s suspension needs adjustments. The suspension is what ensures the tires are pointing straight down the road when the vehicle is properly aligned. If the alignment goes out, it leads to steering issues and irregular wear on the tires. Several things can cause your vehicle’s misalignment, such as hitting curbs and the impact of driving over potholes in Soquel or Santa Cruz. These events cause the suspension to shake, which leads to misalignment. An alignment check is used to determine if there is proper alignment by checking the caster, camber, and toe.

  • Caster (angle of the steering axis), which is the suspension component that supports the tire and wheel assembly.
  • Camber, which is the inward or outward tilt of the tires when being viewed from the front
  • Toe is the relationship between the tires front and rear end. The tires front end can be closer or farther from each other, depending on whether it is a front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive vehicle. A misalignment causes the wheels to pull away from each other during acceleration.

What is the difference between a 2-Wheel and 4-Wheel Alignment?

Alignment is a complex topic that covers a range of terms and a variety of parts. When the wheels are out of alignment, the tires aren’t pointing in the correct direction, which affects your steering, suspension, and safety. Here at Santa Cruz Toyota in Santa Cruz County, we provide all types of alignment services for the residents of Live Oak, Soquel, and Aptos, CA, including:

  • Two-wheel alignments, which aligns the front wheels of your vehicle and are done on vehicles that have a solid rear axle; the rear wheels are also inspected to ensure the front and rear wheels are aligned.
  • Four-wheel alignments are useful for vehicles that have 4-wheel independent suspension or a front-wheel-drive vehicle with adjustable rear suspension. 4-wheel alignments include aligning and adjusting the caster, camber, and toe on the front wheels and camber and toe on the rear wheels, which allows the vehicle to steer and handle properly. Four-wheel alignments are typically not necessary on large SUVs or trucks with a solid rear axle unless it has been in an accident, which caused a bent frame and the rear axle is out of line.

Santa Cruz Toyota

Manufacturers generally recommend that your vehicle have an alignment inspection and adjustment about every six months. When your vehicle is properly aligned, the tires have the correct pressure and you drive semi-conservatively, it will continue to run at its peak performance. When you’re due for wheel alignment, stop by our service center at Santa Cruz Toyota in Santa Cruz County.

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(831) 462-4200

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4200 Auto Plaza Dr • Capitola, CA 95010

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Santa Cruz Toyota

4200 Auto Plaza Dr Capitola, CA

Phone: (831) 462-4200



Phone: (831) 462-4200

4200 Auto Plaza Dr Capitola, CA


Phone: (831) 462-4200

4200 Auto Plaza Dr Capitola, CA


Phone: (831) 462-4200

4200 Auto Plaza Dr Capitola, CA
36.9817995 -121.9619181
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Santa Cruz Toyota
Santa Cruz Toyota
4200 Auto Plaza Dr
Capitola, CA, 95010 US
(831) 462-4200
Santa Cruz Toyota 36.9817995, -121.9619181.