Wheel alignment and balancing car care guide

It will come as no surprise that your vehicle’s wheels are incredibly important. They see the highest amounts of wear and tear when it comes to your car’s consumable parts. 

However, many motorists often take their wheels, tyres and braking systems for granted and don’t think about how they can take care of them in order to preserve their longevity.

In this blog we’ll break down wheel alignment, balancing and their effect on your car’s brakes and tyres and talk about the signs to look out for that means you need to take it to a garage to be realigned.

What is wheel alignment and balancing?

Wheel alignment refers to the angles of your cars wheels in relation to the road. In order to ensure that your tyres have equal contact with the road surface, these mechanisms are carefully calibrated to ensure that the tyres have equal pressure when driving.

Balancing refers to the weight distribution on your wheels as they make contact on the road surface. 

If your vehicle’s wheel alignment is skewed or if the wheels are slightly out of balance, this will cause some sizable issues with your vehicle. 

The first issue is that uneven wheel alignment or unbalanced wheels will cause your tyres to wear unevenly. This could cause one of your tyres to wear past the UK road legal tyre tread depth of 1.6 mm which can be dangerous on roads when it rains. This also creates and issue with replacing your tyres, as you ideally want to replace 2 or 4 at once.

The most hazardous issue created by misaligned wheels is that of fuel consumption. If one of your wheels has more of your vehicle’s weight bearing down on it, it will mean your engine needs to work hard to turn that wheel which will lead to increased consumption and higher fuel costs.

Similarly to your tyres wearing unevenly, more weight on one wheel can also cause your brake pads to wear unevenly. While your brake pads are designed to wear down over time and be replaced, if one brake pad wears down more than the other you could end up damaging your car’s brake disk, which is a much more expensive repair.

What causes your car’s wheels to become misaligned?

Like many things with your car, general use can cause wear and tear on its consumables and mechanisms. 

However, your wheel alignment and balance can be especially susceptible to being affected by things on the road. Driving your vehicle over things like pot-holes, curbs and rough roads frequently can cause wheel alignment to become skewed over time.

Signs your car’s wheels are misaligned or unbalanced

Without the high precision equipment, it can be difficult to tell if your wheels are misaligned or unbalanced. However, there are a few things that you can look for that will indicate that there might be an issue.

  • Feeling vibrations in your steering wheel which gets worse at higher speeds (this is a sign that your front wheels are misaligned)
  • Feeling vibrations in the driving seat which gets worse at higher speeds (this is a sign that your rear wheels may be misaligned)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms with your car, you should contact a garage to help fix your wheel alignment and balancing.

How to fix wheel alignment and balancing

Whether your car is 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive, keeping its wheel alignment in check will help prevent uneven wear on your tyres and reset your steering wheel for a more comfortable drive.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to fix your car’s wheel alignment at home using tools from your garage. You will need specialist equipment to detect the imbalances in your car’s wheels and then special equipment to fix them.

Wheel alignment repair and wheel balancing services

Readdressing your vehicle’s wheel alignment should be done regularly every one-to-two years alongside your regular service. 

If you’re looking to carry out a routine wheel alignment and balancing check, or if you’re looking to fix some more developed issues. Contact us for our specialist wheel alignment service. As a Bosch accredited garage, we have access to high-end specialist equipment with expert technicians who strive to provide the best possible service to you.

What Is A Full Car Service and How Important Is It For Your Car?

UK law currently requires every motor vehicle to have an MOT test every year to ensure that the car is safe and roadworthy. An MOT test looks at the essential safety features and test for major faults that would make your car not roadworthy.  

However, the test does not cover the condition of the engine, clutch or gearbox so in order to check the condition of these, you need a technician to take a more comprehensive look at your vehicle.

This is where a full car service comes in. While passing an MOT test is mandatory, a full car service is optional. 

What happens in a full car service?

While a little more expensive than a traditional MOT, a car service involves a technician looking more in depth at your car into the systems that make it tick. A full car service is performed as a service at most MOT garages and includes, but is not limited to:

  • Changing the oil in the engine
  • Replacing the oil filter 
  • Replacing the air filter
  • Checking the wear on the car’s brake pads
  • Top ups of brake fluid, engine coolant and anti-freeze
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Checking the condition of your engine’s spark plugs
  • Inspection of the engine
  • Inspecting the condition of the wheel bearings
  • Checking the condition of your tyres

What are the advantages of a full car service?

By keeping on top of the maintenance of your car, you’re helping to improve the longevity of the health of your car’s parts, which in the longer term can save you money from having to make big repairs. 

For instance, as you use oil in your car and as it passes through your car’s oil filter, the oil will become thicker and dirtier over time. As a result, the oil becomes less efficient at lubricating your car’s engine and can lead to internal engine damage. 

There are also a number of other components that if they have problems that are left unchecked, the impact on the long term health of your car and longevity of its parts could be costly. 

Servicing your car is also a sign that it has been looked after while under your ownership. When you carry out a full service, you get to add a stamp to your car’s log book, which pays dividends when you come to sell your car. 

Bosch Accredited Quality Car Servicing In Rotherham

At Walker Cutting, we perform full car services that thoroughly check all of your car’s key components in order to ensure that your car is running smoothly. 

Our full services check for major issues with your car to make sure they are spotted and can be fixed early before they become expensive problems in the future. 

We’re specialists in servicing German car brands in Rotherham like Mercedes, Audi and BMW, and cars from other manufacturers. 

Call us on 01709 828220 or fill out the contact form below

MOT Testing, Car Repairs, And Coronavirus: Everything You Need To Know

Technician fixing car

Are garages still open during the UK Lockdown?

Following the UK Government’s advice on the 23rd of March that non-essential businesses should close, a list of services that are exempt from closing down was later published.

Included in that list of essential businesses that were allowed to stay open were MOT test centres and garages. 

What should you do if your MOT is due?

As part of the overall effort to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency announced that MOT due dates for cars, vans, and motorcycles are to be extended by 6 months.

The extension applies to MOTs due on and after 30th March 2020. However, if your MOT due date is before then, you must still take your car in for its MOT test in order for it to be roadworthy, unless you are self-isolating.

So for example, if your MOT is due on the 10th April, your extended due date will be 10th October. You must get your MOT by then.

You can see if your MOT has been exempted by checking your car’s MOT History online.

Are Walker Cutting and Garages in Rotherham, and South Yorkshire Still Open?

As garages are listed as an essential service, Walker Cutting will still remain open for all essential car repairs. That means if your car is showing signs of being unsafe, we would recommend that you speak to one of our technicians on 01709 828220

We can talk through your car trouble over the phone and let you know what the best action is for you to take.

From 30 March 2020, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. This is being done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Why Should You Change Your Engine Oil?

Maintaining your vehicle’s oil is an important aspect of your car’s maintenance. Due to the crucial part your engine oil plays in keeping your engine running. The job of the oil is to keep lubricating moving parts in the engine, preventing any wear to key engine components. Engine oil also helps regulate engine temperature, keeping the temperature consistent preventing overheating components.

Oil changes in Rotherham

We recommend checking your vehicle manufacturer manual to check how often you should change your oil. The normal recommendation is between 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the average distances your car travels. With short distances and heavy traffic meaning, you may have to change your oil more often than someone who travels long distances with little traffic.

If you decide to neglect oil changes you could be creating more problems that will be costly in the long run. As engine parts will wear out quickly causing them to warp, which can be costly to replace.

Oil change services  in Rotherham by Walker Cutting

An oil change can be performed by a professional technician, or you can do it by yourself if you have the know-how how to do it so. Walker Cutting offer low-cost vehicle services for your car, with your oil being changed in no time at all. Keeping your car running smoothly and efficiently as possible.

What is Engine Flushing?

Engine flushing is a method of cleaning your engine using a chemical additive. This additive flushes your engine of carbon deposits that may have built up over time. The additive is then left in the engine for several minutes while it idles, allowing the chemical to pass thoroughly through the entire engine system. These carbon deposits are a natural by-product of burning fuel, and are commonly found within your intake valves, combustion chambers, injector nozzles and engine pistons. These build ups can hinder your engine, causing it to lose out on power and general performance. Carbon deposits are quite common, especially in older cars, but if left untreated can cause serious damage to your engine. Engine flushing is often performed on older vehicles that have built up a large number of carbon deposits throughout its’ life. However, many manufacturers advise against performing an engine flush service on their modern cars, due to the improved self-sufficiency of modern engine systems. 

Benefits of Engine FlushingEngine Oil | Walker Cutting

Removing carbon deposits via engine flushing has numerous benefits for your vehicle. Not only is it essential in order to maintain a healthy engine system, this process also:

Keeps your engine oil clean – Simply changing your engine oil does not remove all traces of your old oil from the engine. These residuals mix and dirty your new oil. Completing an engine flush before changing your oil will remove all traces of your old engine oil. 

Cleans components inside your engine – Engine parts such as piston rings and valves can be significantly hindered by carbon deposits, and will affect the overall performance of your car. Flushing your engine will clean these components and restore efficiency.

Helps prolong engine life – Keeping your engine free of potentially harmful carbon deposits will help your engine to stay healthy and maintain maximum efficiency and performance. The longer your engine stays clean, the healthier it is, and the longer it lasts.

Does My Engine Need Flushing?

When your car has gone a long time without an oil change, it is probably in need of an engine flush. This is because the older the oil, the less capable it is of removing carbon, therefore more carbon is allowed to stay in the engine and forms deposits. 

If you have an older car, your mileage is likely higher and therefore your engine has had longer to build up deposits of soot and carbon. Older cars are prime candidates for engine flushing, while newer cars are sometimes advised not to flush their engine. If you drive a newer car, we advise that you check with your manufacturer before taking your car for an engine flush service.

If you primarily drive in the city, or commonly drive for short amounts of time, your engine oil does not have enough to heat up and do its job properly. This leads to more carbon deposits forming over time, and your engine suffering because of it. Many drivers feel obliged to perform an engine flush when they don’t have much reliable maintenance history for their car. Cleaning their engine via flushing can give you more confidence in your engine system and stop you worrying about the engine’s history.

Sometimes when internal work has been performed on the engine, this can lead to leftover particles being left in the engine, or external substances gaining access. This is more common when services are not performed in a sufficiently clean environment. If any of these points apply to you, considering an engine flush service for your car can prolong engine life and improve performance.

Engine Flushing Services From Walker Cutting

Here at Walker Cutting, we provide quick, easy and affordable engine flushing services from our Bosch-accredited service centre in Rotherham. If you are experiencing loss of engine power or think that an engine clean would be beneficial to your car, get in touch with our expert technicians for free, friendly advice or a no strings attached quote. We’re always happy to help.

Call us on 01709 828220 or Email Us today!

Driving Tips For Pothole Safety

Potholed in on the UK roads have become an underlying issue to UK motorists, especially with the damage potholes can cause to your vehicle. This has caused us to simply drive around them to avoid any damages, however some potholes are unavoidable. The recent weather in the UK has seen a rise in potholes up and down the UK roads, according to a study by AA customer’s nearly 39% of members claimed their cars have been damaged by potholes.

What causes potholes?

Potholes are created by groundwater that has gone into the crevices of the road, the water freezes and expands. When temperatures warm the water melts leaving holes within the layers of the asphalt creating the layers to collapse, creating big enough divots to cause vehicle damage.


Pothole driving safety tips:

Drivers can take measures to make sure their vehicle and passengers are safe from potholes. Driving more sensibly by slowing down before a pothole will help reduce the impact a pothole may make, however braking directly on a pothole can create more damage to your car tyres. A goPothole safety driving tipsod habit is also to create a little more space between you and the driver in front, this will help you to see the road ahead quicker, giving you the time to react to a pothole.

Keeping a firmer grip on your steering wheel will benefit your handling of the vehicle. When driving over larger potholes can sometimes take charge of the direction of the car, so by having a firmer grip you are able to handle the car over the pothole.

Making sure your tyres are in good condition is a good precaution to take when starting any journey, as poor quality damaged tyres will be affected more by potholes. It is recommended to have good quality tyres in good condition are better suited to dealing with potholes. Potholes can create tyre damage and even punctures, which creates problems and disrupt your journey.

How To Tell if You Need Wheel Alignment

Every car wheel alignment will deteriorate over time, with issues such as potholes that can easily damage your wheel alignment. Wheel alignment is adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are parallel and perpendicular to each other.  By adjusting the wheel and making sure the alignment is correct will mean your car tracks straight, meaning maximum tire life expectancy.

Wheel alignment is important to upkeep and monitor due to providing many benefits to the life of your car. Poor wheel alignment can often cause uneven tyre thread and make your car less economical on fuel.


How to tell your car is out of alignment?

There are a few symptoms that could mean your vehicle has bad wheel alignment:

      • Your vehicle may drift to one side whilst driving
      • Steering wheel vibrates
      • Tyres screeching
      • Uneven tyre wear

What are the causes of bad wheel alignment?

There are many causes of bad wheel alignment, one of the causes of wheel alignment is a sudden impact to the wheel. This can often occur by hitting a pothole or even by bumping into a curb, even going over speed bumps at speeds or at the wrong angle can be a cause of bad wheel alignment.

Parts that naturally wear over time can also cause bad wheel alignment. Regular checks around the components of the suspension springs and other wheel components should be regularly inspected to prevent deficient wheel alignment.

Bad alignment can also cause vibration as wheels pull against each other. If your car is shaking while running down the road, check your alignment. A crooked steering wheel. Another sign of a vehicle that is out of alignment is that the steering wheel may be crooked while the car or truck is going straight ahead.


Walker Cutting Services:

Walker Cutting use that latest Bosch equipment, ensuring the most precise measurements to accurately align your wheels correctly. Contact us today for more information on how our wheel alignment services can help you today.

When Do Brake Pads Need Replacing?

The life expectancy of brake pads depends on the make and model of the vehicle, brake pads should last around 50,000 miles. However, this can be lower for some vehicles and may need to be replaced around 25,000 miles. Some brake pads could last up to 65,000 miles to 70,000 miles. Most owner’s manuals list a more accurate number. Brake disk condition should also be measured by the manufacturer’s minimum thickness.

How to know when you need new brakes, what are the warning signs?

There are a few signs to look out for when you may need new brake pads. An easy way to check is by looking at your brake pads, you can see your brake pads by looking in-between the spokes, or you can view them by turning the wheel to the opposite direction. Once you can see your brake pad you should be seeing at least ¼ of an inch of the brake pad. If there is less than ¼ inch of pad left we would recommend getting the brake pads replaced.

When do you need your brake pads replaced?

Another indication that your brake pads need replacing is if you hear a grinding noise coming from your brakes while braking. This noise is caused by the metal brake disc making contact with the bare metal caliper, which would otherwise be making contact with the brake pads. Causing the brakes to make the screeching/grinding sound.

A reduction in responsiveness can also be an indication of your brake pads being on the way out. However, a reduction in responsiveness could be due to a leak in the brake hose, if either problem occurs it’s important to get the brake pads or hose fixed as soon as you can.

Some of these signs could be that your rotors are worn, so do not be surprised if a mechanic says your rotors will need replacing. Brake rotors can last from about 30,000 miles to 70,000 miles, again depending on your vehicle make and model. Always double check your car’s manual.


How do I make my brake pads last longer?

You can make your brake pads last longer by not putting unnecessary pressure onto the brake pads, this can be achieved by not driving at high speeds while leaving a shorter braking distance. Braking suddenly puts a huge amount of pressure on the brake pads, leading to unnecessary wear.

Another method that can be used is coasting, this is when you take your foot off the acceleration while allowing the speed of the car to slow down, by reducing the car speed from 40mph to 20mph then braking can help your brakes in the long run. Driving and accelerating quickly and frantic braking can also reduce how long your brake pads last.


Walker Cutting break repair services

Walker Cutting can help you today with our brake repair services. We offer a high standard of brake repair services in Rotherham, with access to the latest bespoke Bosch equipment, our staff are fully trained to the latest Bosch standards, offering customers a high standard of service.

Learners Now Able To Drive on Motorways


Learner drivers will soon be permitted to drive on motorways for the first time, as the government seeks to improve driving standards. Critics have attacked the plans as insufficient.

The new rules come into place in 2018 and will allow instructors in dual-control cars to take their pupils onto the motorway, in the most dramatic shake-up of driving lesson rules for years. The change comes amid increased concern over deaths among younger drivers, and fears that many new drivers are insufficiently confident or prepared to drive frequently on the motorway.

There is also hoped to be an economic benefit as a result of this move, with Road Safety Minister Andrew Jones stressing the vital importance of motorways to Britain’s businesses.

It remains to be seen what effect this will have on motorway driving, and whether the introduction of unqualified drivers into main roads will have a recognisable impact on the number of deaths on the road. Despite the uncertainty, ministers have pointed to the disproportionate number of deaths among drivers under 25 as an indicator of the vital need to increase experience among newly-licensed road users. However statistics show motorways are frequently among Britain’s safest roads, while country lanes often pose a far higher risk due to poor visibility, heavy machinery and poor road surface conditions.

The new rules will not extend to Northern Ireland, or include motorbike learners, the government has said.

Additional changes to the driving practical test, including the introduction of sat navs, have been announced by the government- although ability to drive on the motorway is not going to be tested.


Need car repair? Rotherham-based Walker Cutting offers the best value high-quality car repair & servicing in the area- because of our main dealer standard of car repair and Bosch kit we can provide a cheaper service that still hits the high standards expected of European car specialists.

The Race For The Best Scrappage Scheme


Car upgrades are the buzz of the summer- with the news of an impending combustion engine ban (albeit in over 20 years) car companies are riding a wave. Specifically the wave they’re riding is the excitement over new technology, potentially revolutionary new car engines and the self-driving car buzz: in short, the new optimism that by 20 our roads will be populated solely by safe, clean, silent, cheaply run cars of USS Enteprise level technology. These car will almost certainly drive themselves and never, ever crash. Some will look more like lounges than cars.

Of course we still have some major distance to cover before UK drivers can step, blinking, into this new reality. One of these is the inconvenient fact that we’re currently all driving the awful, polluting internal combustion-engines of years gone by. For once taking the cue of legislators, and even environmentalists, manufacturers who just a few years ago were fiddling their emissions tests are now deserting diesels in droves, flocking instead to embrace the new futurism. If their philosophy seems too flexible to be genuine, it’s because it probably is. The emissions scandal has done tremendous damage to the car industry’s image, and while deep down shareholders probably aren’t as thrilled about the race for driverless electric cars (and the competition they’ll face from tech juggernauts like Google, Tesla and Apple) as they may appear, rushing to unveil more and more ambitious next-gen car projects seems more effective than continuing to try and convince a jaded public of the benefits of diesel and petrol. The obstacle they’re all facing, though, is twofold- the public image disaster that was diesel-gate, and the pressure to sell more cars.

Enter the scrappage scheme, the route by which car manufacturers hope to convince us of their (now) pure intentions. New rules demanding even more rigorous and draconian emissions targets from suppliers have contributed to a drive to push consumers towards cleaner and cleaner cars.

At the time of writing, Ford, Vauxhall, Mercedes, BMW, Skoda, Renault, Fiat, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, VW, Nissan and Kia have all unveiled new scrappage schemes offering money off upgrades.

Yet the incentives rarely put a dent in the cost of the new cars- with critics warning the motive could easily be increased sales figures rather than cleaner air. Others claim consumer uncertainty over Brexit might be driving companies to offer better and better incentives to buy. Nonetheless the potential environmental benefits of a ‘scrappage war’ to of the best incentives to upgrade to a new, cleaner car could set the tone for a widespread switch to new technology. Certainly the headlines will look positive, even if the reality is more of a traditional price war.

electric car


Car repair from Walker Cutting ensures you get great value, the finest customer service and above all, the best car repair Rotherham has to offer! Our team are the most experienced car repair & servicing experts in South Yorkshire, and we always go the extra mile to get you back on the road. Our Bosch service centre is equipped with top of the range kit to give the most effective and precise diagnostic testing, and a fast, professional car repair.