What is the difference between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing?
It’s a common misconception that wheel alignment/tracking and wheel balancing are the same thing. In fact, they are not; they’re quite different from one another for a couple of different reasons. We have put together this blog to teach you the difference between the two, how to potentially diagnose which problem you have and what we will do to make your car drive perfectly again.
What is wheel alignment/tracking?
Wheel alignment refers to the direction that each wheel is facing in relation to the road and the car’s steering wheel. Each one needs to be individually set at the right angle to ensure that your car is driving as smoothly as possible and without fault.
How can I tell if I need wheel alignment?
There are a couple of ways to tell if your vehicle requires alignment. Sometimes the car will have a slight drag and want to pull you in one direction. Or you can often tell if there is uneven wear across the tires. On rare occasions, you can also feel a slight vibration when pressing the brake pedal.
How can my car wheels become unaligned?
Again, your wheels can become unaligned for a whole host of different reasons; it’s a fairly common problem that most cars have at some point in their life. The primary reason for the misalignment of wheels is hitting potholes or curbs. Altering your driving habits can reduce the likelihood of your tracking being damaged, but it is nearly impossible to avoid altogether, and it’s best to have your tracking checked fairly regularly, just like you would have a service.
How do we realign your wheels?
We use purpose-built machinery with highly tuned lasers to give us a readout of where your tyres should be. If there are any alignment issues, we will adjust them accordingly using the track rod to keep you running straight and your car in tip-top condition.
What is wheel balancing?
Wheel balancing takes into account the weight of the vehicle and how the wheel spins when the vehicle is in motion to calculate how well spread the weight of the car is when in motion. If an imbalance is found, balancing weights are applied to the rim to ensure that this weight is evenly spread when in motion.
How can I tell if my wheels need balancing?
The most common indication of an incorrectly balanced wheel is a noticeable vibration on the steering wheel, typical when travelling at higher speeds. If the wheels are out of balance by a lot, sometimes this “vibration” can be felt through the entirety of the car.
Not only can this cause a very uncomfortable drive for you and your passengers, but it can also cause your tyres, suspension, and steering attributes to wear more quickly. Therefore it’s worth having your balancing checked similarly to your tracking. We typically check the balance of your wheels whenever we change the tyres.
How can my wheels become unbalanced?
Very much like the tracking, the main culprit for the cause of an unbalanced wheel is likely to be potholes and larger bumps in the road. And again, altering your driving style can minimise the chances that your wheels take some damage, but ultimately it’s near impossible to avoid completely.
How do you balance a wheel?
We use a piece of machinery aptly known as a wheel balancer. The process involves removing the wheel and fitting it to the machine. It will then spin the wheel as though you were in motion. It detects distributions of rotating mass in specific locations and indicates where we need to add/remove some weight.