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Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balance - What’s the Difference?

Wheel alignment, wheel balance, what’s the difference?

Man shrugging his shoulders.
Your local service centre will typically recommend that you have a wheels are balanced at the same time. This can cause confusion for some, who consider these two services as being the same thing. In fact, these are two completely different services that, when completed at the same time, can greatly improve tyre life and vehicle handling.

What is a Wheel Alignment?

Put simply, a wheel alignment refers to an adjustment to your car’s suspension. The suspension system connects your vehicle to its wheels. A wheel alignment service does not include an adjustment to the tyres or wheels themselves.
A wheel alignment is the measurement, analysis and adjustment of your vehicle’s steering and suspension angles to ensure that the tyres make correct contact with the road. It ensures that the wheels are at an angle of 90 degrees to the ground and parallel to each other.
There are different methods of adjustment, depending on the make and model of your car, however, there are three main measurements involved. These are caster, camber and toe.

What is a Wheel Balance?

When you book your car in for a wheel balance, the wheel is removed from the vehicle and placed onto a wheel balancing machine. The machine spins the wheel, which replicates how it spins when on your car and highlights any imbalances that the wheel has. A technician is then able to precisely install the correct tyre weights to the tyre to achieve balance.
When your wheels are balanced, the overall performance and safety of your vehicle is greatly improved.

When should you have a Wheel Alignment?

Typically, you should have a wheel alignment approximately every 10,000kms. Your vehicle will also require a wheel alignment whenever you have new tyres fitted. Other instances include:
  • Your vehicle feels as though it is pulling to one side
  • The steering wheel is shuddering or vibrating, particularly when travelling at higher speeds

When should you have a Wheel Balance?

Your vehicle requires a wheel balance every time a tyre is fitted to a wheel. Other instances include:
  • If your steering wheel is shuddering, particularly when driving at higher speeds
  • You notice uneven or rapid tyre wear
  • You hit a curb or pothole, which may cause the loss of a wheel weight

Should you have a Wheel Alignment and a Wheel Balance at the same time?

When your wheels are balanced, the overall performance and safety of your vehicle is greatly improved. A wheel alignment can improve vehicle handling, fuel efficiency and tyre life. BestDrive recommends that you combine a wheel alignment and wheel balance service to ensure that these benefits are maximised. Find your local BestDrive store to arrange your next wheel alignment and balance.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.

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