I’m going to start this blog off by discussing one of our most common issues, turn plates!
This is a substantial issue when trying to achieve a straight steering wheel and then also finding out you have different results each time you put the same car on.
Some customers will try and use their MOT plates to save time. These are ok to just turn the wheel and look for defects but they get covered in dirt and that will get into the plate and cause a restriction. For alignment adjustments they need to be completely free moving!
Some will use their old dish type turn plates from their old laser system. The issue is they will turn but won’t slide, hence building up tension and can give you the wrong results.
Some simply don’t use the pins provided, this is very common and we should always drive on the turn plates with the pins in. If you can, put them in when ready to drive off the turn plate. If you can’t, push the car off the plate because the damage occurs when the car is reversed off the plate. Your plate can tilt losing its bearings.
Another issue is loose balls, normally due to not using the supplied pins and a lack of maintenance. Metal bearing plates will need lubrication i.e. grease, nylon bearings. Dirt should be cleaned every so often (dependant on usage) e.g. remove the top plate and brush out the dirt. Bolts can also come loose when loading vehicle weight on the ramp which compromises movement.
Check your turn plates by pulling the car side to side freely, any restrictions will cause issues!
As well as front turning plates, rear slip plates need cleaning out as the dirt can block drain holes and cause the recess to flood and corrode. However, be careful as these huge metal plates can be very heavy, always have help to lift the plate.