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The Difference Between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing

Mechanic checking tire

Wheel balancing and wheel alignment are distinct services that help your car drive straight and smoothly down streets and highways. Knowing the difference between the two will help you determine which one you need the next time you’re at an automotive service centre. Here’s what you need to know.

Wheel Alignment

A wheel alignment focuses on the angle at which your tires and wheels sit when they’re mounted to the car. In fact, an alignment has little to do with the wheels and more to do with your vehicle’s suspension system.

Wheels can be misaligned in three ways: toe, camber and caster.

  1. Toe misalignment is when the wheels are pointing at different angles from each other. This is the most common type of misalignment. If your car drifts to one side when you take your hands off the wheel, you probably have a toe misalignment.
  2. Camber misalignment refers to the vertical angle of the wheels. If you look at your car from the front and see the wheels leaning to one side, then you have a camber misalignment.
  3. Caster misalignment is when your wheels sit too far forward or back in the wheel well, causing the tires to hit the vehicle when driving over bumps.

Driving a car with a misalignment causes the tire treads to wear out unevenly and reduces fuel efficiency. It also causes you to have less control over the vehicle in poor driving conditions.

Wheel Balancing

Wheel balancing has more to do with the tires and rims themselves, ensuring they spin evenly and smoothly. The tire-and-wheel combo is placed in a machine that spins the tire quickly to identify imbalances. A technician can then adhere small lead weights to correct problem areas.

You can tell you need your tires checked and balanced if your car starts to shake and shudder at certain speeds. That means one side of the tire or wheel is heavier than the other. Wheel balancing is usually done during a tire replacement or repair service. If you’re having work done on your tires, ensure that the technician balances the tires before installing them.

Wheel Alignment and Balancing Services in Vancouver and Throughout British Columbia

At Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres, our technicians can perform wheel alignments and wheel balancing to prevent uneven wear on your tire treads and increase fuel efficiency and control on the road. We provide maintenance tune-ups and tire repairs at 15 service centres conveniently located in Vancouver and throughout B.C. Contact us today to make your appointment.


Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres Address Common Issues

Here at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres in British Columbia, we’re always pleased to help our customers get the most out of their cars and trucks. To that end, we’ll add a relevant blog topic from time to time to keep you up to date and getting the most out of your vehicle.