Do I Need a Tire Balance or a Wheel Alignment?

Like many drivers, you probably never think about the difference between a tire balance and a wheel alignment. Both services are essential to maintaining your vehicle's performance and extending the life of your tires. It's important that wheel alignment and tire balancing are included in your car's regular maintenance schedule, and that you recognize the signs of imbalanced tires and wheels that have become misaligned.

Tire balance

The tires on your vehicle are balanced on the wheel by small weights placed between the tire and rim. Why? Because even a new tire will never be perfectly balanced. When our technicians perform a balancing service on your car, we make sure the weight of the tire and wheel is distributed as evenly as possible. This way, the tire rolls smoothly.

Like most things, your tire balancing endures normal wear and tear. The weights shift or even become lost when hitting a pothole or slamming on the brakes. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be time to bring your vehicle in for tire balancing:

  • Your vehicle shakes violently at speeds above 60 mph.
  • The steering wheel vibrates.
  • Your car seats are vibrating.
  • The car's tires are wearing unevenly.
  • You notice a humming sound from your tires.

Wheel alignment

Your vehicle's wheel alignment ensures that your car travels straight, and that your tires are centered properly on the wheels. Every vehicle is made with a specific alignment: A set of angles that position your tires on the ground. Wheels can become misaligned during heavy impact, or by simply bumping the curb. During a wheel alignment, our technicians adjust the angles of your wheels back to manufacturer recommendations. We recommend a wheel alignment service every 6,000 miles, or sooner if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Your vehicle pulls to one side.
  • Your hear a squealing sound from your tires.
  • Your steering wheel is off-center while driving straight.
  • The car's tires are wearing unevenly.
  • You've noticed a drop in fuel efficiency.

If you need a wheel alignment or tire services performed, we invite you to bring your vehicle into our auto repair shop today.

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