Wheel balancing and wheel alignment are also known as Tire balancing and Tire alignment. Every car’s wheels have to roll in a straight line and in the same direction with even balance all the way around in order for the car to drive as it should and deliver a smooth ride to the driver’s destination. When this does not happen the right way, things such as “wheel alignment” and “wheel balancing” are needed. Both of these services help extend the tire life and improve handling performance.
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What Is Wheel Balancing?
Tire balancing corrects the uneven distribution of weight in the wheels. When wheels are not on the same level, it can result in excessive tire wear, damage to the suspension and other problems. During a session of wheel balancing servicing, the wheels are mounted onto a wheel balancing machine. Then the machine spins the tire and wheel assembly to do a measurement to check for any imbalance so that a technician can precisely install the correct tire weights to achieve a properly balanced wheel and tire assembly. Sometimes, wheel balancing and alignment happens during just a service but they should not be confused for the same thing.
Signs That Show That Your Wheels Need Balancing
When your tire wears out, it causes vibration in the steering, floorboard or seat. This means that you will have to get your tires balanced during a tire rotation after a flat tire repair or part of your scheduled maintenance.
The part of the car that shakes will show whether it is the front or back wheels that need balancing. If the shaking is in the steering wheel, that means it is likely to be your front tires and if it is in the seats, it could indicate that the imbalance is coming from the back wheels.
Tires can also become out of balance because of the loss of a wheel weight or because a rim has hit a curb or a pothole. If you leave your car parked for a long period of time without warning or moving it, the tires may develop flat spots that cause imbalances.
How A Wheel Rebalancing Is Done
The best time to get a wheel balancing done is when the tires are being rotated, that is for both convenience because you might have a tire that needs balancing at the rear of the vehicle and you would not feel it till it has moved to the front.
This is how to wheel rebalancing is done;
- The first thing that is done is that a tire is mounted on a wheel heel and is attached to a tire balancing machine.
- Then the wheel is spun while vibration measurements are taken. This tells the vulcanizer if the weight is spread evenly, how much weight to add and where on the wheel to attach it.
- If an imbalance is found, the vulcanizer may be able to rebalance and adjust the weights by adding more. But there are times when it requires the vulcanizer to move the tire on the wheel and then rebalance. This is done when a heavy spot on the wheel and on the tire can sometimes line up together, causing a greater imbalance that needs to be corrected.
What Is Wheel Alignment?
Wheel alignment, also known as tire alignment, is known as when a car’s suspension is being adjusted. The suspension is the system that connects a vehicle to its wheels. It is not just the adjustment of the wheels themselves. Aligning your wheel helps keep your car from swaying to the left or right and it can improve the handling of your vehicle and stop and unusual on-the-road vibrations.
Signs That Your Car Needs Wheel Alignment
You can know if your vehicle needs an alignment by noticing the following;
- The car keeps pulling to one side of the road.
- The tire treads are wearing out very fast or unevenly.
- The tires are making a squealing noise.
- The steering wheel tilts off-center when you are driving.
- The steering wheel vibrates when you accelerate.
Your alignment can be bad if you get knocked out by being in a car accident, driving over a pothole, or running into a curb.
What Can Cause A Wheel To Go Out Of Alignment?
There are different things that may be the cause of a car needing wheel alignment. When you take a turn too sharp and you place strain on the wheel or its axle, it can cause the alignment to shift. Also, hitting a bump too hard can let the wheel go out of alignment. Plus the stress and strain of driving daily for years can even cause that to happen too. It is a normal circumstance that could happen to anyone and it is very common.
How Do Wheel Balancing And Alignment Benefit Your Car?
The most significant benefit you can get from balancing services is that they prevent premature tire tread wear. Most technicians agree that you should get your tires balanced every 5,000 to 6,000 miles can help extend their lifespan and improve their performance.
Wheel alignment benefits are improved vehicle handling, fuel efficiency and tire life. When you leave your tire untreated, alignment issues can shorten a tire’s life by thousands of miles and can damage critical steering and suspension components.
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