I’m going to start this blog series by talking about one of our most common issues those working with wheel alignment equipment can face, and that’s turn plates.
If not used correctly, turnplates can cause big problems when trying to achieve a straight steering wheel. Whats worse it can lead you to produce different results each time you attempt to align the same vehicle which quickly becomes infuriating.
Some garages will try and use their MOT plates to save time and these can be ok to just turn the wheel and look for defects. The risk is that they get covered in dirt and that will get into the plate and cause a restriction. To complete an alignment accurately the plates need to be completely free moving.
Others might use their old style dish type turn plates. These most commonly come from an older laser system. They will turn but don’t slide, meaning they build up tension and can give you wrong results.
Another common mistake made by alignment engineers is simply not using the pins provided. This is surprisingly common and can cause irreversible damage to your to your wheel alignment system.
We should always drive on the turn plates with the pins in. As soon as you are ready to remove a vehicle from your alignment station, put the pins in. Failing to do this can lead to damage when the car is reversed. The plate can tilt and bearings become loose, impacting the accuracy of your machine.
Some people simply fail to maintain their turn plates. Metal bearing plates will need regular lubrication for example with grease. Nylon bearings don’t need any grease or oil but should be cleaned regularly depending on usage by removing the top plate and brushing out any dirt.
Bolts can also come loose and put vehicle weight directly onto the ramp. This means that the free movement needed to complete accurate wheel alignment is not there.
You can check your turn plates by pulling the car side to side freely. Any restrictions felt will likely cause issues.
My name is Warren Carr and I’m from the team of alignment engineers at Hofmann Megaplan. I will be using this blog to regularly highlight some practical hints and tips which will help you, our garage professionals, achieve great results with your equipment, no matter the make of alignment machine.