What you could be doing wrong when aligning your vehicle or setting up your chassis
By Chassis Tools, the expert leader in Racing Wheel Alignment Systems
First, ask yourself...
Have you thought of using a "home store" laser to do a wheel alignment your race car, race truck, or racing kart?
Read this and think twice before you try to do it yourself, or waste your money buying one of our competitors laser products!
You have probably asked yourself, why can't I use a laser from Sears, Home Depot, or my local hardware store to do a wheel alignment on my Race Car? Why are some racing laser alignment systems more expensive than others? These are very good questions. However, the following information will give you enough basic information to help you understand why you should NOT use home store lasers, or wheel alignment equipment that uses these cheap lasers to do a Racing wheel alignment. This information that we are sharing with you comes from data we have collected over the years, by contributing countless hours of labor, and thousands of dollars spent in research and development.
What do we know anyway?
Chassis Tools has been in the Racing, Race Car wheel alignment and Race Car chassis setup business using laser wheel alignment for over ten years. We cover almost every type of race vehicle, from BMW to Indy Cars, and we sell to the most influential Racing Shops and Race Teams in the world, including major car and Race Car manufactures. We have over 25 years of experience in Tool Design, including 8 US patents. All our products are designed specifically for its Racing Wheel Alignment application.
WHY YOU DON'T WANT TO USE A CONSTRUCTION LASER TO DO A RACING WHEEL ALIGNMENT
A construction laser from Sears, Home Depot, or your local hardware store is extremely inaccurate for use with any Racing vehicle wheel alignment, so inaccurate in fact; that you would be better off using your old string system to do an race car alignment. The problem is that we get fooled into thinking our race car alignment is accurate, just because we used a laser beam. Construction lasers are just that, made for constructing a deck, hanging a picture, or putting in a fence post. For this situation, the age-old phrase you get what you pay for holds true. We are making these statements to hopefully save you some money, and most importantly, showing up at the race track THINKING you have a well setup race car.
Another saying, what you see is what you get is a little bit different with regard to construction lasers. It is more like what you see is not necessarily what you get. It is what they do not tell you is where the trouble starts.
MYTH: Laser beams shoot straight out of the center line axis and parallel to its main mechanical axis. Yes it is a myth. They are never on center line axis and parallel.
CASE IN POINT: A Construction Laser Level. This product has a laser that shoots a beam out of the end of the level and parallel to the edges of the levels surface. Right? Well, sort of. They have a tolerance. We have seen specs on these levels where they are as much as +/- ½ inch at 50 feet relative to the levelxs surface. So you place the level on a flat surface and at 50 feet the laser is ½ inch higher than that at the laser output.
Turn the level onto the other side and you have the opposite. Now the specs for the laser beam are relative to the levels main surface. What about relative to the sides of the level? Well, it could be worse. Now you have a laser level where the laser beam not only can be shooting up or down but it can also be shooting left or right at the same amount or more.
When you put it up against the rear wheel of your car, and it could be shooting up or down or left or right. Get the idea? Is that string looking pretty good now? And did we mention their lasers do not have any method for calibration?
See it for yourself
Now - go out and search all the racing wheel alignment system suppliers who use (improvise) construction laser levels as a laser source for their product. Gee they all do! EXCEPT for Chassis Tools.com.
If that is not enough, here is more information for your records:
The laser wavelength and power they use are the same as the laser construction level. CHEAP!!
They say the laser can be flipped 90 degrees. Well... sort of.
The laser plane is perpendicular to the base? Well... sort of.
The laser cannot be calibrated to the bubble level.
There are no methods of calibration for anything.
For Your Inner Nerd
Lasers are basically specified by wavelength, power, and beam divergence. The three most popular red lasers have wavelengths measured in in nanometers, denoted Nm.
They include 670 nm, 650 nm and 635nm. (cheap lasers)
The 650's are 5 times brighter than the 670's.
The 635's are 10 times brighter than the 670's.
The cost of the 650 is around 20 times that of the 670.
The 635 is about 100 times more expensive than the 670.
For all of our systems, we use lasers with a wavelength of 635 nm
Power is rated in milli-watt, denoted mW. More power means more money.
The highest power allowed by the federal government to be eye safe and not require special safety glasses is 5mW.
Beam divergence is the angle of the edges of the laser beam in radians. Every laser has beam divergence. For our system, this provides the wall of light that we read measurements from. The farther out the laser beam goes, the more the spot size grows.
Cost: the smaller the angle, the more money you have to spend.
The most common beam divergence used in construction lasers, without giving you a number, is of course the worst since it is cheapest. There is a direct correlation between beam divergence and cost. Simply put, you get what you pay for.
What does Chassis Tools.com use? We know and are told by our customers that we have the most consistent and uniform beam width over the distance of the vehicle on the market.
The most common wavelength used in construction lasers is of course, the cheapest – 670 nm. What does Chassis Tools use? 650 for most single point lasers, 635 for all laser string lasers.
The most common power used in construction lasers is once again the cheapest 2.5 mW or less. What does Chassis Tools Racing and Race Car Wheel Alignment use? All Chassis Tools Racing Wheel Alignment lasers are the highest power allowed by law: 5 mW.
In special cases we do use higher power lasers if it fits the individual application.
Wave length is 532 nm, the brightest laser to the human eye that will ever be produced, and are currently the most expensive. At this time they are typically not found in construction lasers.
Does Chassis Tools Wheel Alignment offer Green lasers as an option? Yes
The Wheel Alignment System Buyers Guide: BUYER BEWARE!
The bottom line is that without an understanding of lasers it can be easy to see why people could view all lasers as being the same. Most importantly, they are often viewed as being accurate. Our wheel alignment products use the finest quality lasers and components available. Most importantly, you can use our Race Car wheel alignment equipment with the highest confidence that you are achieving the highest quality Racing Setup and wheel alignment that you can.