mother wrote:There are a few components to alignment...
Toe is if the front of the tires point towards each other (in) or away from each other (out). Toe-in makes a car not want to initiate a turn, toe-out makes it really want to turn.
Front of car is up:
Toe in /\
Toe out \/
Cars normally have a little toe-in so that when the forces applied to the situation from actually driving get applied, things zero out.
Usually a bad alignment is your toe angle being off, but not off because of an even amount of adjustment on each side of the car.
The other adjustments are camber which is if the tire leans in (-) or out (+) at the top. A bit of negative camber (top in) enhances most cars cornering ability - This is important because when you are taking a corner the car will change the angle of contact with the road, and that is when you want the tire on the outside that has to do all the work as flat against the pavement as possible.
The last adjustment is called caster, and that is essentially how not straight up and down the pivot point is. Caster does two things- it can add or subtract camber as you turn the wheel (remember you want the tire to lean in at the top on the outside wheel in a corner so the rubber is flat on the road) and also it's what causes the force that self-centers the steering wheel.
Thanks for the education. But easiest is to have a son working for a tire shop who can get alignment checked for nothing, or a six-pack.