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Mon - Fri: 8:00am - 5:45pm

Sat: 8:30 - 4:00pm

Sun: Closed

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What is the Difference Between Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing?

Wheel alignment and wheel balancing are not the same service or procedure. Both are important to the condition of your tyres in the long term. However, alignment and balancing are two very different things. Where wheel balancing corrects the distribution of weight around each wheel, wheel alignment adjusts each wheel so that it sits at the optimal angle to the road and in relation to every other wheel on the vehicle. Read on to take a closer look at each procedure in detail and understand the differences.

What is Wheel Balancing?

wheel balancing illustration - wheel being balanced at Tyres Northampton

Wheel balancing redistributes the weight of the car evenly around the wheels. This is often done by adding small wheel weights on the wheel rim to counterbalance any inconsistencies in the weight distribution. If you can imagine a scale with a weight on one side, the scales will tip towards the weighted side. If you add weights to the other side until the scales balance evenly, this is essentially what is happening to a car wheel during balancing. The equal distribution of hundreds of kilograms of vehicle weight will significantly help the tyres to wear evenly and therefore safely.

Wheels that are incorrectly balanced will cause vibrations in the steering wheel over a certain speed. This is typically 50-70mph. Not only will this fatigue the driver, it causes serious tyre damage if the balance is out by a large increment.

What is Wheel Alignment?

wheel alignment illustration - wheel alignment being carried out at Tyres Northampton

Wheel alignment means checking and adjusting the direction and angle in which the tyres are oriented. Generally, the wheels should be parallel to each other but particular makes and models of vehicle will have specific cambers and angles required to function at their best.

Wheel alignment is a specialist job involving industry standard equipment, cameras, reflectors and optical sensors that register each wheel and its relationship to every other wheel on the vehicle. This modern technology means that mechanics can make wheel alignments as precise as possible for today’s motorists.

Essentially, as the root word suggests, alignment is intended to make it easy for your car to drive in a straight line. If the car pulls to one side while the steering wheel points straight ahead, then it’s time for the car to have its wheels aligned.

Having your wheels aligned will improve the safety of the car, make for a smoother driving experience, improve fuel economy and make your tyres last longer.

Here at Tyres Northampton, we provide and install a huge range of branded tyres for cars, vans and motorcycles. Our professionals deliver an efficient and thorough service, and are able to deliver many types of vehicle servicing, including MOTs, exhaust and brakes servicing. We’re also specialists in wheel alignment and wheel balancing, using the latest technology to ensure your vehicle is running straight and true. To arrange a visit, or to simply find out more about us, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team.

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