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

Aug 15, 2022

While you’re driving, you might notice a rough or wobbly ride. Depending on who you talk to, you might hear that it could be a problem with your wheel alignment or tire balance, but what’s the difference? Let’s take a closer look at these two common auto services.

Wheel Alignment

Your vehicle’s wheel alignment is actually determined by its suspension system. This system disperses the weight of the car across your tires while keeping them all pointing in the same direction with proper traction. As time goes on, the suspension’s springs can wear down, however, and a harsh impact with a bump in the road or severe potholes can throw off your car’s alignment. When this happens, you might experience a drop in ride quality, as the wheels start to pull to the side. If you check your tires, you’ll also see that they’re starting to wear down unevenly. Bad alignment can force the wheels to work against each other, making the vehicle work harder than it should, and costing you fuel efficiency in the long run. It can even impact how promptly your brakes can bring your vehicle to a stop as well.

Tire Balance

The balance of your tires is directly connected to the fit of each tire to its wheel. When the weight is evenly distributed around the tire’s circumference, it should promise consistent rolling for a smooth ride and even wear. If a tire is off-balance, the wear and tear will accelerate, and you’ll experience a rough and wobbly ride, especially if you venture onto the highway. For convenience, consider having your tire balanced checked whenever you have your tires rotated.

Similarities

Both wheel and tire services go a long way in keeping your ride smooth. They also ensure your tires will last as long as possible, protecting them from unnecessary wear and tear. Keeping both issues in check can also help you glean better gas mileage out of your vehicle.

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