Though commonly confused, wheel alignment and tire balancing two unique tire services. Each are essential for getting the most out of the life and performance of your tires.
Wheel alignment is also referred to as “tire alignment” or “front end alignment.” Alignment service involves adjusting the angle of your car’s wheels to the position that is recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. As a part of your alignment service, your technician will check your tread for signs of poor alignment, and will also inspect the toe, camber, and caster, which are the three components impacting wheel alignment. After the initial inspection, all necessary adjustments are made. Typically manufacturers recommend having alignment checked every 10,000 miles, but you should have alignment service sooner if you notice the following signs:
- Vehicle pulls to one side
- Wheels do not point straight ahead, causing steering problems
- Noticeably uneven tread wear
- You’ve had a recent accident or collision
As you accumulate miles on your car, your tires lose balance. Tire balancing service will restore proper balance, and in turn improve your vehicle’s performance. Tread wear causes the distribution of weight around the tire to change. This leads to an imbalance that makes your car shake or vibrate. During tire balancing service, the technician uses a calibrated spin balancer, and will typically test both static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving) tire balance, then adjust the tires to the proper balance. Tire balancing is often performed along with tire rotation, which is usually every 5-6,000 miles or 6 months. Signs that your tire balance should be checked sooner include:
- Excessive vibration is the steering wheel at certain speeds
- Floorboard vibration when certain speeds are reached
- Cupped wear pattern in tire treads
If you suspect you are in need of tire balancing or wheel alignment, or know that you are due for these services, the experts at Raben Tire are here to help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.