At Peak Auto we use the Hunter Hawkeye alignment machine which is extremely accurate and is required at every Mercedes Benz Dealership.
A Vehicles alignment is a crucial component of its ability to handle properly on the road. The vehicle’s alignment will effect drifting, pulling to the left or right, and tire wear. It is crucial to have the manufacturers specifications for your vehicle followed and implemented when performing an alignment. Most European vehicles will be a 4 wheel alignment. Camber, Caster, and Tow are what needs to be pointing in the correct directions to achieve proper handling. If you have the perfect specifications on the vehicle, you can from there get better grip around corners, better braking, or better tire wear.
Camber is the adjustment that tilts the top of the wheel inwards or outwards towards middle of the vehicle. On a race car the camber is adjusted so that you can physically see the wheels leaning in. The Caster is where the wheel sits in the wheel well. Most BMW’s Audi’s or Volkswagen’s do not usually have this adjustment. Mercedes Benz usually does especially on the older vehicles. Toe is how the wheels point when you are looking forward. Most vehicles will have a toe adjustment for the front and for the rear. This is the most critical adjustment but a lot of shops will do what they call a “set the toe and go”, which is basically cheating you of an alignment.
A manufacturer will give a “range”. Even within the range you can get better handling or better tire wear. Mini Coopers are notorious for tire wear. When I had my Mini Cooper S John Works Aligned, I ask the technician to “straighten” out the setting to get maximum tire use. The vehicle still had fantastic handling around town.
BMW requires 4 wheel alignments to be accomplished by weighing down the vehicle with 50 lbs bags of sand. Each bag is placed in a specific location in the vehicle. A 330 would be different from a Z3 or a X5.
The real reason for using weights during alignment according to Dinan is to simulate the angles in the
suspension when the car is driving at highway speeds. When you drive faster, you notice the car sits down lower and closer to the road.
As the car sits lower the wheels spread wider. This is caused by the aerodynamics of the car, the slant of the windscreen, slanted hood, underbelly, etc. BMW designed your car to sit lower when you drive faster, not to raise up and float.
The alignment specs are therefore there because BMW want specific numbers when you, the driver, need it most. This is when you are driving the car not when it is sitting in the parking lot at the shopping center.
At Peak Auto we use the most advanced Alignment machine made by HUNTER ENGINEERING called the Hawkeye. It uses extremely accurate cameras instead of the old fashioned laser technology.
Peak Auto is the only BMW service and repair center in Cary NC, Apex NC, and the Triangle area that performs this detailed service.