Wheel Alignment vs Balancing: The Difference?

January 8th, 2020 by

Maintaining the overall health of your N Charlotte Toyota car can be difficult to keep track of. Think about it. Your windshield wipers need attending to so you can see clearly, your tires inspected to make sure you can drive, your oil changed to keep your engine running, the list goes on and on. While you might have your auto service regimen down to a “T,” it’s likely that you still have questions regarding essential car care. One topic that’s often left drivers uncertain is the difference between wheel alignment and tire balancing. Often used interchangeably, these two car tire auto services ensure the long term health of your vehicle along with several of its essential parts.

At Toyota of North Charlotte, we’re here to help make auto service simple for you so you can preserve your vehicle for as long as possible. Follow along with us as we break down the two most confused car tire health services, wheel alignment and tire balancing.

Car tire care at Toyota of North Charlotte

What are Wheel Alignment and Tire Balancing?

The main differences between wheel alignment and tire balancing as auto services lies in what they are and what they do to improve the overall health of your N Charlotte Toyota vehicle. Let’s start by breaking down what each process is:

Wheel Alignment

While this N Charlotte auto service deals with your car tires, it’s more concerned with the well-being of your suspension system as a whole. Wheel alignment services are used to straighten your suspension system to keep your vehicle driving in a straight pattern. Your vehicle’s suspension system does connect and use the tires and wheels to keep your vehicle moving. But, a wheel alignment doesn’t do anything to improve the performance and/or quality of your car tires.

How Do You Know if Your Vehicle Needs a Wheel Alignment?

There are several clearly recognizable signs that your N Charlotte Toyota vehicle is in need of an alignment. If you experience any of these signs while driving, we recommend bringing your ride to one of our excellent auto service techs.

  • While driving, your car pulls to one side when you let go of the steering wheel (test this in a safe environment).
  • Your tire tread is uneven or in an abnormal pattern.
  • Your tires could be squealing while driving.
  • When accelerating, your steering wheel vibrates.


Tire Balancing

Unlike wheel alignments, tire balancing is directly concerned with the health and well being of your car tires. This process involves attaching your tire to a machine that sends it through several revolutions (spins) to assess the weight distribution across your tire’s radius. An auto service technician then attaches various weights to certain parts of the wheel face and inside in order to achieve a perfect balance when traveling at high speeds.

How to Know if Your Vehicle Needs a Car Tire Balancing?

Figuring out whether or not your tire needs to be rebalanced is similar to how you would assess a wheel alignment. Look for these signs:

  • Odd vibrations in the floor and/or your steering wheel.
  • Your tire tread is wearing in an uneven pattern.
  • Your steering wheel vibrates when accelerating.

Need help taking care of your N Charlotte Toyota car tires? We’re here to help! Visit our auto service center at Toyota of North Charlotte today. You can schedule an appointment online or visit us seven days a week at 13429 Statesville Road.

Posted in Toyota Service