What’s the difference between wheel balancing and wheel alignment?

Most people, if we’re being honest, don’t really know the difference between wheel balancing and wheel alignment. In fact, the majority of customers believe they are actually the same thing. The fact of the matter is they are two completely separate things, and mixing them up could result in expensive and unnecessary repair costs. Fortunately Bakestone Motors are here to help you. Hopefully this short blog will explain some of the basic differences. But don’t worry, if you’d rather let the experts deal with matters, then bring your car to us and our time-served mechanics will check out your vehicle and rectify any balance or alignment problems for you with a minimum of fuss.

Wheel Alignment and Balancing: what’s the difference?

The purpose of wheel alignment is to adjust the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. These adjustments are essential if you want to maximise tyre life and guarantee that a vehicle tracks straight and true when driving along a straight and level road.  Wheel Balancing, is carried out so that the tyres and wheels spin without causing any vibrations.  This is achieved by checking for any heavy spots on the wheel-tyre combination and compensating for these by placing a measured lead weight on the opposite site of the wheel from where the heavy spot is.

What are the symptoms that your vehicle’s wheels and tyres may need aligning?

  • Uneven or rapid tyre wear.
  • If your vehicle pulls or drifts away from a straight line.
  • If your vehicle wanders off true on a straight, level road
  • If the spokes of your vehicle’s steering wheel are offset to one side whilst driving on a straight and level road.

What are the signs that your vehicle’s wheels and tyres may need balancing?

  • Vibration in your vehicle’s steering wheel particularly at certain highway speeds: usually between 50 and 70 mph.
  • Vibration in the vehicle’s seat or floorboard particularly at certain highway speeds: usually between 50 and 70 mph.
  • Uneven wear and tear patterns of your car tyres.