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Wheel Alignment or Tire Balance: Which Do You Need?

Your car tires and wheels make up a significant part of your car and influence your driving experience. When they are not in their best condition, driving can become a problem. Before we discuss how wheel alignment and tire balance are different, let's look at how they are similar. Although they are different processes, they contribute to a smoother ride and make driving longer distances a more pleasant experience.

What is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is unique for every vehicle. It refers to an adjustment of your car's suspension system. This is the system that connects your vehicle to its wheels. It does not involve adjusting the tires themselves. A good wheel alignment will keep your car from veering to the right or the left on the road when you are not tightly controlling the steering wheel. If your vehicle needs wheel alignment, these are the signs you will notice

  • The car will start pulling to one side of the road.
  • The tires are squealing, especially when making turns
  • The steering wheel tilts off-center when you are driving
  • The steering wheel will vibrate when accelerating
  • You may notice the tire treads wearing out prematurely or unevenly.

What is Tire Balance?

Tire balancing is a service performed on cars to correct uneven weight distribution. Usually, when you get new tires installed, they need to be balanced before you can take the car on the road. To perform a tire balancing, your auto shop professional will apply different weights to the planes on either side of the rims. This way, they can correctly measure each tire's weight capacity and balancing. If your car has unbalanced tires, you may notice the following signs

  • Uneven tire wear
  • A humming sound from the tires
  • The car may vibrate when driving on smooth roads
  • If you are driving above 60 mph, the car may start to shake violently.


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