Tire Balance Vs. Wheel Alignment: What’s The Difference?

Wheel alignment equipment on a car wheel in a repair station

You probably know that taking care of your tires is essential, but the different tasks can sometimes be confusing. For example, if you aren’t sure what the difference is between tire balancing and wheel alignment, you’re not alone. Many people confuse these maintenance issues, but the truth is they achieve very different results. Learn the difference between tire balancing and wheel alignment and why both are important for your car.

The Basics of Tire Balancing

When your mechanic balances your tires, they make sure the car’s weight sits as evenly as possible on the tires. If the weight doesn’t sit evenly, you can feel a vibration or notice uneven tread wear and poor fuel economy. In addition, the vibration you feel will get worse at higher speeds, and you may feel it in the steering wheel or even under your feet. Your tires can become unbalanced with normal driving over time.

How Your Mechanic Balances Your Tires

A tire machine gauges heavier or lighter areas using tiny, precise weights and adjusts the tires. It is a fairly simple procedure that does not take much time to perform. In fact, many people have the mechanic balance their tires when they rotate them.

The Basics of Wheel Alignment

Many people also call this process tire alignment, but it targets the car’s suspension, not the actual tires. A wheel alignment adjusts the angles of the wheels so that they work together. When we hit a curb or a pothole, the angles can get out of sync. As a result, the wheels can eventually point in different directions. Poor alignment will show up as uneven tread wear, pulling in the steering wheel, and reduced fuel economy. In addition, poor alignment can also affect the handling of your car.

How Your Mechanic Does a Wheel Alignment

Your mechanic will adjust the axles and wheels with each other to ensure they are in the same direction again. In addition, you may only need a front-end alignment or all four wheels. Also, getting a wheel alignment check twice a year is a good idea to make sure things don’t get out of hand. Finally, recall that the signs of a tire balance issue and a wheel alignment issue are very similar. As a result, you might not know which problem is the culprit. Your mechanic can have a look and recommend which service is best.

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Find Your Trusted Service Department Here

Finding a mechanic you can trust is key to good tire health and safe driving. At Garden State Honda in Clifton, New Jersey, we understand how important professional service is. We want you to have confidence that our service department will diagnose the problem correctly. Make an appointment today to have our trained service technicians check your tires and make sure you’re road-ready.

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