What is wheel alignment, and why is it necessary?
Almost every car enthusiast has faced with the repair of car rims. And if, in the end, he wants to get the desired result, he needs to turn to experienced qualified specialists. That’s why we decided to talk about the very technology of disk straightening.
Today repair of disks is carried out on many service stations, but it is better to address in those services where there is the specialized equipment, as because of its absence, the final result of works can disappoint you. Nowadays the technology of disk straightening allows eliminating the dent on different types of disks: whether they are cast, forged or stamped. Proper technology of disk straightening is first of all carried out individually, i.e. each case requires a special approach. In particular, the individual approach depends on the type of disc and the type of damage.
Before carrying out disk repair, specialists carry out a kind of diagnosis. It is not possible to determine the nature of the damage of the disk installed on the car, for this purpose it is necessary to “unload” it, i.e. to take the tire off and give it a torque, for example, on the balancing stand. This is one of the key factors of the straightening technology. (Our balancing stands “Sivik Gelios” have the technical and technological ability to display the nature of the dent on the monitor). Only after the diagnosis specialist will proceed directly to the procedure of repair of the disk.
As a rule, service stations, oriented on repair of disks carry out complete restoration of automobile disks, removing axial and radial run-out.
Restoration of stamped disks does not create any problems for specialists (unless, of course, the steel disk has become a piece of twisted metal), therefore it costs much cheaper.
More often with the problems of repair and restoration of the disk faces motorists, who have given their preference to light alloy wheels (commonly called the castings), since this type, despite the huge number of advantages, is more vulnerable to mechanical damage and its restoration, as they say, “costs a pretty penny.
The modern technologies of disk straightening successfully cope with the repair of any type of disks. The main reason why the motorists go to the disk repair services is the bad quality of the road surfaces. Naturally, buying a new disc is a luxury, so many car owners practice repairing damage on discs by turning to service stations. But all motorists should remember that the technology of straightening discs must include specialized equipment, especially for cast discs, otherwise the result will be reduced to zero. Therefore, when choosing a service, inquire about the availability of special machines.
Even if the disk repair carried out with the use of special equipment will be a little more expensive, it is not a reason to refuse a quality service. The fact is that poor-quality repair of discs and failure to comply with the technological process can jeopardize your personal safety while driving. Often service stations offer “rolling disks”. This technology is applicable only for stamped (steel) disks, since during the running-in the metal is compacted by the rollers of the machine, which changes the structure of the metal, which may cause separation of the edge (detachment) of the disk rim at the point of force on the rolling rollers. After the alloy wheel has been rolled, the next impact on the wheel on the road may be the last one not only for the wheel itself. Therefore, if you are offered to have your alloy wheel “rolled” – run away from there! Alloy wheels cannot be rolled! Cast discs are pulled by hydraulic pressure only in the jammed area, without damaging the structure and integrity of the disc.
Technology of disk straightening
We have already told you that it is necessary to make diagnostics before repairing discs. Before carrying out the diagnostics, the disc should be completely cleaned from dirt. Then the specialist determines the type of run-out (axial or radial), the depth of the dent or rupture in the disc, the size of the missing part and only after that starts the real straightening of the disc. However, always remember that the repair of cast discs can not be carried out if they have cracks at the base of the spokes or cracks near the mounting holes. Also in rare cases, due to the non-uniform properties of the metal disc or its severe damage (and/or “hidden from sight” micro-cracks under the paint) during the straightening process, cracks may occur, which may lead to an increase in the previously mentioned cost of work.
So, we believe that we have succeeded in briefly highlighting the most important aspects in the repair of automotive disks and we believe that today one of the most experienced services in this type of service is the Specialized Tire Center “Shinomafia”, which has modern special equipment, as well as competent, experienced professionals in the field.
With regard to light-alloy wheels, and it is very important, having many years of experience in restoring cast discs, service specialists warn that the manufacturers of light-alloy wheels do not recommend to repair damaged discs. Therefore, it is the owner’s choice to repair or buy new wheels, because according to traffic regulations, the driver is responsible for the good condition of the vehicle. That is why when the driver surrenders an alloy wheel to a specified service for repair, the driver must sign a consent for the repair.
What is wheel rolling and how is it properly performed?
Almost every motorist will tell you that the main problem and the main cause of headaches are the roads. To be more exact, their condition. Roughness, potholes, holes and huge cracks are encountered everywhere.
The similar situation on the roads leads to the fact that the chassis, even of the strongest vehicle, cannot withstand, gradually begins to fall apart, there are malfunctions, suspension elements fail much earlier than the manufacturer stated. It is impossible to maintain a perfect suspension.
When you hit another pothole or pothole, it will be very easy to bend the disk. It is even worse when a crack forms on its surface. This raises the natural question of what to do next and what to do with the wheel rim. There are always two options. The first one is to buy a new product, or an entire set. The second option is to try to restore the product. One of the methods of restoration is rolling.
A little about wheel rims
The car disc is called the central part of the wheel of the vehicle. It, using special fasteners, is connected directly to the wheel hub. On the disc is a rim and to it is fixed itself a tire or rubber.
There are two main varieties of discs, which are most often found on Russian roads:
- Stamped. The most budgetary, and therefore the most popular designs. Such products are sold and operated everywhere. The main material for their manufacture is steel. Often stamped disks are installed at the factory, where the car is assembled. It is especially relevant for cars of a budget category.
- Cast. They are also often called light alloy. The cost is slightly higher if compared with the stamped counterparts. They are made on the basis of special light alloys. Most often they are based on materials such as magnesium, titanium and aluminum. They are characterized by low weight, extremely attractive appearance and decent strength indicators. One of the main advantages is also resistance to corrosion.
Much less common are the forged and prefabricated disks. They can be called an exotic for the former Soviet Union countries, as on sale are rare, and the price is sometimes cosmic.
Regardless of what kind of wheel rims are installed on your vehicle, in the case of violation of the geometry, they can always try to restore. This is relevant when the situation cannot be called critical, and the damage is major.
What does it mean to roll a disk
Before turning to specialists who are engaged in the rolling of alloy wheels, or specialize in matters of rolling automotive stamped discs, every motorist must understand the essence and principle of this procedure.
Let’s start with the fact that rolling is possible only in the conditions of the car service center, which deals with such operations. This is due to the need to use expensive professional equipment. It makes absolutely no sense to buy such machines for personal use. In financial terms, it is completely unjustified costs. Plus you need a certain qualification and skills to qualitatively roll discs.
Special rolling for automobile disks is aimed at returning the initial geometry, that is the correct form, to the product that was lost as a result of impact or damage. The procedure is aimed at eliminating irregularities and dents. Before the part is mounted on the machine, an inspection procedure and damage analysis is performed to determine the degree of misalignment.
Displacement of geometry on automobile wheel rims comes in 3 types:
Radial misalignment refers to a misalignment in the vertical plane of the disc. In practice, it is much easier to understand. If you drive a car or just rotate such a disc around its axis, runout will occur at the bottom and at the top. Such deformations are characteristic of the rear and front parts of the rims.
If we talk about axial displacement, there is a deformation or change of geometry already in the horizontal plane. In this case, there is an uneven distribution of weight in the planes, from which the rubber on the car begins to wear actively, but unevenly.
It is not difficult to guess that the combined displacement combines two types of geometry violation at once, that is, changes occur in the vertical and horizontal planes. The rolling of damaged wheels allows you to eliminate the defects, as well as to return the products to their original shape, thus getting rid of radial, axial or combined displacements.
In the conditions of Russian roads, the technology of professional rolling of cast and stamped disks is becoming more and more popular. This is due to the fact that with this method there is a real opportunity to extend the life of products, rather than buying a new set, the cost of which for a number of car owners severely affects the wallet.
Therefore, many are naturally interested in how to properly roll deformed alloy wheels, and what to do in the case of violation of the geometry on stamped steel products. Before describing the essence of the technology or procedure of restoration by rolling, each motorist must learn about the signs when such a service really becomes relevant.
When rolling is required
The car itself helps to understand that the wheels need restoration, in order to restore the correct geometry. The car changes the character of its behavior on the road, forcing the driver to feel and feel the changes.
Specialists and experienced car owners give 3 key signs, which for sure help to understand that geometry disorders and offsets have occurred and some actions should be taken.
It is wrong to rely solely on visual inspection. Externally, the wheel may look quite normal and not raise any suspicions. But even with minor defects and geometry defects you may face unpleasant consequences. It is better to listen to your own vehicle. If you notice at least one of the signs listed below, it is worth at least to visit a car service center and undergo a diagnostic procedure. In case the check confirms axial, radial or combined displacement, the rolling itself is performed.
The wheel begins to wear out excessively quickly. At that, at the same time, an uneven reduction in the thickness of the tread is observed. This does not always indicate a problem with the disc geometry. But it acts as one of the potential causes.
- Deterioration of level of traction of wheels with road surface is felt. Also the efficiency of steering decreases, braking takes longer, the braking distance increases. For this you need to understand and know how the car behaves in normal conditions. Inexperienced drivers can not always notice such signs.
- When driving, you feel an extraneous vibration. These vibrations are transmitted to the steering wheel in the situation when it is the front wheel rims, located on the front axle, that are damaged. And when the geometry is broken on the rear axle side, then the vibrations will be transmitted to the body.
It is extremely reckless and erroneous to ignore such symptoms. If you continue to operate the car with such a problem, it will gradually lead to the destruction of the structural elements of the suspension and steering units. You can only imagine how much their repair or replacement will cost. In comparison with rolling discs, it is a huge financial outlay.
How the rolling procedure is performed
Depending on the degree of damage and the nature of the manifestation of the geometry disorder on the disc, the appropriate methods of rolling are used.
The procedure has its own peculiarities depending on the type of disc in question. The approach to rolling will be completely different in the case of stamped and cast structures.
Therefore, these processes and the nuances of their implementation should be considered separately.
Rolling of stamped products
According to experts, and this is a completely fair statement, rolling is relevant to a greater extent exactly for steel stamped discs. Working with cast structures by such methods is often irrelevant. But we will talk about them a little later.
Stamped products are rolled in two main ways:
In the case of full rolling, the entire surface of the damaged product is treated, regardless of where exactly the deformation was formed or the curvature of the structure occurred. The advantage of the method is that the end result is an almost perfectly flat, fully balanced disc. But the method has its disadvantages. Full rolling involves affecting the entire disc, including areas that have not been damaged. As a result, part of the metal layer is removed, and the thickness of the product is reduced. This causes the structure to become more brittle.
The consequence of complete rolling can be damage and more serious cracks in the further operation of the restored element.
That is why there is an alternative method in the form of partial rolling. Here, only the damaged part of the disc is affected. This results in completely opposite strengths and weaknesses. That is, the thickness of the entire disc does not change, but the ideal balance is not achieved.
How exactly to straighten or roll a stamped wheel disc, it is up to the motorist or master who conducts diagnostics.
In this case, partial rolling is considered technologically more complex process. Plus the cost of the operation is not small, although the price is inferior to the full rolling. You should be sure that when you pay the money, you will get the appropriate result. This speaks to the importance of choosing a good specialist, as well as the role of pre-diagnosis. The motorist is unlikely to be happy to find out that after paying for the service and trying to repair the disc he receives an unusable product.
The rolling procedure is carried out according to the following procedure:
- First, the specialist conducts a visual inspection of the existing defects. This allows him to estimate how badly the disk is damaged and whether rolling will help in this particular situation. For a number of disks masters do not even take, being well aware that to achieve the desired result will not work.
- If the disk can be restored, it is mounted and fixed on a special machine.
- The machine has a roller, made of alloy steel. The disc is turned on this roller, gradually returning it to its original shape.
- When the machine is finished, the shape and geometry are checked and the necessary measurements are taken.
When the rolling is finished, the balancing procedure takes place. It cannot be done visually either. Here another specialized machine is used.
Reconditioning of alloy wheels
Actually, the rolling procedure is more relevant to stamped disks than to cast ones. To use such a machine with respect to cast or alloy products is expedient only in some cases. This refers to the situation in which the damage was extremely minor. When defects in the form of chips, dents or cracks appear, other approaches are used.
Most often, cast discs are restored using 2 main methods.
- Argon welding. It does not guarantee in all situations that the disc can be restored in full. The main problem with this situation is that it is forbidden to heat such items, even insignificantly. This can negatively affect the performance characteristics, durability and the tendency to the appearance of new defects.
- Manual straightening. In fact, a cast or alloy disc is started to be gently tapped in order to remove some bumps and dents. The procedure is long, laborious and requires extreme accuracy. That is why not all the masters straighten the disks by hand.
From time to time, within the framework of straightening, some masters use hydraulic jacks and other similar devices, which help to return the product to its original form. But the use of such devices requires strict compliance with the technology and the presence of the master’s experience.
In practice, alloyed alloy wheels are practically impossible to repair. In very rare cases, they can be restored, and only partially, and not in all car-care centers.
Problems that may arise during spinning
Each motorist, who has experienced wheel damage, should understand that it is not always possible to restore the geometry by rolling. And it concerns both pressed steel disks and light alloy castings, even if to a greater extent.
It is possible to name a few basic problems that the car owner who decided to ask for the service of rolling of deformed wheels on his vehicle may encounter.
- Rejection. Some people are perplexed as to why the masters simply refuse to undertake such procedures when they visit the car service stations. The explanation is very simple. The procedure is complex, requires special and expensive equipment. Profitability is not that significant for some service stations. In other words, it is simply unprofitable for the organizations to be engaged in restoration. Especially frequent refusals happen when one wants to roll a cast disc.
- Payment without result. It also happens so that the client pays money for the service, but does not receive it in full. That is, rolling gives no result, although the masters spent their time, ran the machine, made an attempt at restoration. But the rolling was not successful. This often leads to conflicts between the parties. After all, the person paid for the roll, but didn’t get it. At the same time, the technician did the work, spent certain resources, but the disk had such damage that it is simply impossible to restore it. Many service stations have taken measures on this issue. They now provide for a preliminary contract. The client signs an agreement for rolling, but at the same time the car service indicates in the document that there are no guarantees of the result. It allows avoiding unnecessary conflicts.
- Financial costs. Another problem is the cost of rolling, which is not always justified by the long continued use of the disc. It all depends on the damage, as well as the skill of the master himself. Therefore, many people rightly believe that it is easier and preferable to take a new set of discs, rather than spend time and money, without getting a guarantee for quality restoration, for rolling.
- Lifetime after rolling. It is not always the case that the rolled discs last long and confidently. It often happens that due to a reduction in metal thickness or an attempt to fix a rather serious damage, the structure of the material is broken, the metal becomes more brittle, and does not withstand prolonged use. Even after a minor impact, discs sometimes crack and fall apart. You should be prepared for this when rolling a severely deformed product.
How reasonable it is to roll a disc, especially a light alloy, depends on the specific situation. Sometimes this procedure becomes the best way out of the situation. And in other cases, motorists simply waste time and money.
Rolling often involves painting the disc at the same time after restoring its geometry. If you add up the price of all these services, you will see that the price is at least equal to the price for a new identical disc.
If the geometry has changed and this is evident in the form of corresponding signs, you cannot wait. It is not so important whether you are going to change a disc or roll it. The main thing here is not to aggravate the situation, but to take emergency measures. The disk is not leveled by yourself, you will not do it in the garage conditions. But the consequences of driving on the wrong wheels can be very serious. And then you will have to prepare money for suspension and running gear repair.