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What's the Difference Between Wheel Alignment & Wheel Balancing?

Most of the time, automotive terminology gets jumbled up for the average person. For instance, people sometimes confuse tire alignment and tire balance considering both services provide a smoother and seamless drive. While your auto repair technician may also examine the balance of your wheels during a wheel alignment service, the two services are completely different. Here's what you need to know about their differences and similarities.


Wheel Alignment

A wheel alignment is a service that involves adjusting your vehicle wheels' angles to make sure they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.


Wheel Balancing

Wheel balancing, on the other hand, ensures that all your tires spin without creating vibrations. The vibrations can be caused by as much as an oz. of imbalance. A certified technician will use a balancing device to measure the amount of variation on the tires. Then they will use lead balancing weights to compensate for weight differences between tires. 


What Are the Signs?

Both balance and alignment of the tires affect the handling and drivability of your car. But here is how the symptoms of need differ:

Signs of Misalignment

  • Uneven or rapid wear on tires
  • Sharp or slight pulling and drifting when driving straight
  • Off-centered steering wheel on a straight and level road
  • Squealing tires

Signs of Imbalance

  • Vibrations in the steering wheel, seat, or floorboards while driving at high speeds
  • Scalloped or cupped tire-wear patterns
  • Damage to shocks or wheel bearings

Both misaligned and imbalanced wheels can ultimately hurt your fuel economy and ultimately affect the handling of your vehicle. If you suspect that you need one or both services, feel free to take your car or truck to Honest Wrenches. You can put trust in our certified technicians to restore your wheels and have you safely back on the road again. Give us a call or visit our shop today!

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