Tire Balance vs. Tire Alignment: Which Do You Need?

January 10, 2022 5:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When people think of tire balance vs. tire alignment, they often assume that they’re the same thing. But they’re not. They’re two entirely different maintenance tasks that both have effects on your car’s ride and handling.

Let’s look at the differences between the two and which might be right for your situation.

Difference between tire balancing and a tire alignment service

First, let’s consider the terms balance and alignment. If a wheel is out of balance, this leads to vibrations that can be felt in the steering wheel or in the seats. A wheel that’s out of alignment, on the other hand, causes excessive tire wear along with steering problems.

Wheel alignment includes adjusting the wheel angles so that they’re perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another. By going for regular wheel alignment, you will maximize the life of your tires. Plus, wheels that are out of alignment will result in the car drifting to one side or the other.

Balancing, however, will help provide a smooth ride that’s not affected by tire bounce. This will improve traction and steering control while also extending tire life. Out-of-balance wheels result in a cupped wear pattern because one part of the tire is heavier than other parts of the tire.

Consider which service is best for you

When considering tire balance vs. tire alignment, it’s important to look at the signs your car is giving. The signals related to tire balance include uneven wear and vibration in the steering wheel, floorboard or under the seat. You may want to consider tire balancing when replacing a flat tire, during tire rotation or as part of regularly scheduled maintenance.

Tires being out of balance can be linked to the loss of a wheel weight when a rim strikes a curb or pothole. It’s also possible that leaving the car parked for an extended period might result in flat spots that cause imbalance.

For wheel alignment, this refers to adjustment of the car’s suspension. When your car pulls to one side of the road or the tires are squealing, these are signs that alignment is in order. The alignment can be knocked out of order following a car accident, after driving over a pothole or hitting a curb.

Why you should balance and align tires

The most significant benefits for both are that you extend the life of your tires and improve your vehicle’s safety. Wheel alignment can improve handling and fuel efficiency as well. Tire balance means less strain is placed on the drivetrain.

There’s a difference between tire balancing and a tire alignment service, but either way, you need the help of a trusted auto repair shop. No matter what kind of vehicle you’re driving, Ice Cold Auto Repair is here to provide best-in-class maintenance and repairs. Our certified technicians offer a wide range of services to all our customers. Our locally-owned and -operated shop has served the community for more than two decades. Give us a call today to set up your first appointment.

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