Many people don't understand the difference between wheel alignment and wheel balancing. However, it's important to understand what type of service a vehicle requires. This will help a person to remedy whatever tire situation they may be dealing with without spending extra money on services that aren't actually needed.
Wheel alignment is when the wheels of the vehicle aren't pointed straight. The wheels can be pushed in or out, and this can significantly affect how the vehicle handles. Not only can vehicle's that are out of alignment wear the tires on it more quickly and unevenly, it can also shorten the life of suspension parts.
Tire balancing is a bit different. Rather than making adjustments to the suspension, tire balancing makes adjustments to the tire itself. When a person purchases a new tire, imperfections in the rubber surface or heavy spots within the tire, where one part of the tire is heavier than the other, can cause a vehicle to drive very poorly. With Computer Balancing, the weight can be calculated and counterweights, notably on the opposite side of where the tire is its heaviest, can be placed to correctly balance the tire. In the past, a visual inspection was what was used to properly balance the tire. With computer balancing, the process is much more precise and the tire is properly balanced the first time.
Tires may go out of balance throughout its life. For example, rougher roads can often cause counterweights to fall off. In these cases, the vehicle may pull significantly to one side or another and the tire may make a wobbling sound. Even a small counterweight falling off of a tire can cause significant pulling and uneven tire wear, and it's important to have the tire re-balanced as quickly as possible.
Auto repair facilities, especially those that specialize in tires, can handle the tire balancing quite easily. With compact computerized balancing tools, a new tire can be mounted onto the wheel and properly balanced to ensure that it lasts as long as possible and the ride is as smooth as can be. If your Vehicle is showing signs of a tire being out of balance, repair shops offer a very easy and simple fix.