What are alignments and wheel balancing? Do I need them?

By Shepard Motors | May 23, 2011

What  are alignments and wheel balancing, do I need them?

A wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is to maximize tire life and to ensure that  a vehicle tracks straight and true when driving along a straight road. Some symptoms of a car this is out of alignment include: uneven or rapid tire wear; pulling or drifting away from a straight line; wandering on a straight level road; spokes of the steering well off to one side while driving on a straight and level road. These symptoms lead to uncomfortable driving and premature replacement of tires. Wheel alignments are important and necessary for the maintenance of your vehicle.

Wheel balancing on the other hand allows the tires and wheels to spin without causing any vibrations. This is accomplished by checking for any heavy spots on the wheel-tire combination and compensating for it by placing a measured lead weight on the opposite site of wheel from where the heavy spot is. Some symptoms of a wheel that is out of balance include: vibration in the steering wheel at certain highway speeds; vibration in the seat or floorboard at certain highway speeds; scalloped or cupped wear pattern on the tires. Getting your wheels balanced is another important part of your vehicles maintenance.

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