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.