If you are a car owner, at some point in your time you may have heard of wheel alignment. A lot of companies are now promoting the usage of new digital laser alignment machines. Commonly known as "Hunter" ramps. These use laser targeting to increase the accuracy of the vehicle alignment on your car. You may be asking yourself, are they worth the money?
Well, simply put yes. A car that is inaccurately aligned will result in more wear and tear on the vehicle as well as poor handling. I don't know if each individual installation of the Hunter setups are confidential in price, but I recently got to use one for my car. The installation cost paid for this was in the £xx,xxx range, so @ £40 for a basic alignment check you still need to get a few cars in to cover your intial cost of installation. This is why Hunter ramps are £40 for a basic check then around £25 for each wheel up to a maximum of £120,
Now, why should you consider paying for a Hunter ramp digital alignment over a traditional wheel alignment.
Well, to understand this first you need to understand what exactly is adjusted on a traditional wheel alignment and how it's done. On a normal vechile alignment clamps are connected on either side of the rear of your car with a measuring board, with a laser level on the front of the vehicle. These then point a laser beam at a number board on the rear and the vehicle track rod ends are adjusted so they are both at half way values (so if one side registers as a value of 9 and another of 6, both sides would be adjusted to read 7.5)
Now, the problems with traditional wheel alignment are that it does use lasers, but they are only accurate to a small degree, the digital laser system on the hunter ramps are extremely accurate. They don't simply allow you to adjust the vehicle tracking, you can fine tune the tracking by adjusting the camber, the toe and any other suspension feature available for that model of vehicle.
The Hunter system inputs your vehicle details and registers what the values should be, then you make the adjustments as required. It gives you a visible indication of each amendment required on the car and displays it on screen as it is being adjusted, you get a tolerance level where your car should be red (out of spec) and green (within spec).
Basically, a wheel alignment on a Hunter setup caters for any kind of 2wd or 4wd car and allows the garage to setup your suspension to the tolerances as if it left the factory. Although some manufacturers are being sneaky about this and not releasing the values meaning you can only get them adjusted at the dealerships, but these are quite low.
At the end of it all you get a nice digital printout as proof for the adjustments on your car before and after.
So, if your considering a Hunter alignment why not find out your nearest garage and get it setup sooner rather than later and save money in the long run. Why spend £500 on tyres to be let down early by badly worn suspension
Attached is the below Hunter setup for my VW Golf and the variance in adjustments. The entire car couldn't be completed due to time constraints (one thing you need to be careful of it takes around 30-40 mins per vehicle depending on how easy adjustments are) and also some bolts were seized, I'll be getting it re-adjusted at some stage.
Overally a very effective setup, well worth the money and I'd recommend it