If you notice a slight drop in the MPG economy achieved by your Renault Vel Satis, or if the ride seems fidgety at times with the car pulling in one direction and/or the steering wheel wobbling at certain speeds, it’s quite possibly time to get your car seen to be a 4-wheel laser wheel alignment specialist.
So many things can affect a car’s stance, from ubiquitous potholes on UK roads to tyre balancing weights falling off, or steering components becoming misaligned. Bad tracking and balancing can result in uneven tyre wear, reduced MPG and an uncomfortable ride.
The latter two symptoms affected my own Vel Satis of late, so I knew it was time to fork out for a specialist to sort out the car’s “shoes”. I searched the internet for recommendations and found 3 supposedly top-notch wheel alignment specialists in the north west – one in the Wirral (a bit far for me), one in Bolton (not too bad) and one in Oldham (bingo!), which is highly recommended by the Lexus Owners Club and mentioned on many other forums too. The place in question is called Drury Lane Services, a Bosch centre the next block down Manchester Road from Renault Oldham.
They certainly lived up to their reputation. I was welcomed properly on arrival and made to feel at home by Paul, the owner, who was a fountain of knowledge, coming from a motorsport background. He and his guys were more than happy for me to watch them at work from time to time, to see what treatment my Vel Satis was receiving. It was fascinating to see the Hunter DSP 600 imaging system, the computer and the posh ramp on which the car partly levitates on air, I was told. The Hunter DSP 600 works with four high-precision cameras situated in the aligner tower which measure the exact position and orientation of the reflection targets mounted on each of your car’s four wheels. Check out these photos showing my Vel Satis up on the ramp, with the lasers pointed on the wheel targets!
I was provided with full print-outs from their system. All really interesting! Apparently the camber and caster were ok on my Vel Satis, but the front and rear toes were out and needed adjusting. I was also advised that my wheels had shed many of their balancing weights, so they spent a good length of time carefully re-balancing my wheels, using a special machine I was told cost a fortune, to get the job done properly. Here are the readings I was given to take home with me:
When the operation was complete, which took a reassuring 2.25 hours, I immediately felt a difference, the car not pulling to one side at all, driving nice and straight, with slightly less noise, slightly better MPG economy and no steering wheel wobble/car shake at certain motorway speeds. So my first impressions of Drury Lane are very good, and in general, I would recommend all Vel Satis owners to get a full 4-wheel alignment done to ensure their car is kept in as good order as possible.