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Tracking Gauges, What Are They And What Do They Do?

Tracking gauges, also sometimes called tracking aligners, are designed to measure the angle between a pair of wheels on a single axle.

Most tracking gauges are digital and the angle between the wheels is displayed in increments of 0.1 of a degree with a conversion table supplied to convert the reading to millimetres for easy application to the specific wheel diameter.


How does a Laser Tracking Gauge Work?

Using a mirror for reflection, the laser beam provides a point of reference for determining the angle between a pair of wheels.

What can Damage Wheel Tracking or Alignment?

It’s an inevitability of motoring that the wheel alignment or tracking on a car can be affected and become misaligned. Hitting kerbs or potholes at speed can cause this or even poor fitting when you need to replace a tyre.

Tracking gauges help tyre professionals to ensure that the wheels on the vehicle are correctly aligned following the manufacturer’s specification.

What can Poor Wheel Alignment Lead To?

A poor wheel alignment will impact road holding so it can affect performance in challenging weather conditions or in the event of emergency manoeuvres.

Poor tracking will also decrease the life of the tyre and is one of the recommended regular checks any motorist should make.

How does a Vehicle with Poor Wheel Alignment Feel to Drive?

Misaligned wheel tracking can cause the car to pull to one side. Uneven tyre wear is also a clue that something isn’t right. Usually, the tyres wear more on one side than the other.

If the car is dragging or pulling to one side, you are experiencing steering wheel vibration or squealing noises at low speed, then these are all red flags to check the wheel alignment with a tracking gauge.

Braking distance, driving quality and fuel consumption are other areas which can all be impacted by poor wheel alignment. If there are issues with front wheel alignment, then all four wheels should be checked by a specialist using a tracking gauge.

Laser Tracking Gauges

Laser tracking gauges offer optimal accuracy. Whilst you can undertake some visual tyre checks on your car, wheel alignment requires specialist equipment. Regular inspections can prolong the lifespan of your tyres by up to 12,000 miles. The tyre makes correct contact with the road and works in alignment with its opposite pair, so fuel efficiency is also maximised.

Most tyre specialists who use laser tracking gauges will produce a printed report for your records. Repeated tracking or wheel alignment issues could indicate a problem elsewhere such as with the suspension. Subtle wheel misalignments are not always obvious to driver performance so don’t rely on the feel or the appearance of the tyres to indicate a problem.

Final Thoughts

If you want to take care of your tyres, then regular visual inspections and tyre pressure checks are very helpful. However, some issues which impact performance and tyre lifespan are not always within the remit of your average motorist. Regular tyre tracking checks will keep you safe and prolong the life of your tyres whilst also ensuring you make the best use of your fuel.

Here at Supalign, we offer computerised wheel aligners and laser tracking gauges providing optimal accuracy and vehicle performance coupled with friendly and professional advice from the Supalign team.



Offering an extensive range of laser, CCD & 3D aligners Supalign is a one stop shop for wheel alignment requirements.