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Wheel Alignment vs Balance: What’s the Difference?

Is your car not driving straight? Is it pulling to one side? If so, you might need to take it to an alignment shop. But does your vehicle need a wheel alignment or wheel balance? You might not know the difference between these two services if you're not an automotive expert.

Luckily, the ASE-certified mechanics at The Car Shoppe in Queensbury, New York are here to help. Here is everything you need to know about a wheel alignment vs. wheel balance and how to tell which one your car needs.

What is a Wheel Alignment?

The term “wheel alignment” is misleading. That’s because the term “alignment” actually refers to your car’s suspension system. A wheel alignment service doesn’t involve adjusting the wheels themselves. It’s adjusting the tires' angles to ensure they are all driving straight on the road.

What is a Wheel Balance?

Wheel balancing is an auto maintenance service that checks to see if your tires are spinning without causing vibrations. During the service, a certified mechanic will balance the weight of your wheel and tire assemblies to ensure they are all traveling evenly when you drive at high speeds.

During the service, the technician will put your tires on a balancing device to measure the amount of variations. If anything is off, they will use lead balancing weights to properly balance the tires.

Which Service Does My Car Need?

Your car might need a wheel alignment if it is:

  • Drifting or pulling to one side as you drive straight
  • Showing signs of premature or uneven tire wear
  • Has a shaking or vibrating steering wheel
  • Has tires that make squealing sounds

On the other hand, your car could need its wheels balanced if:

  • You feel vibrations in your seat, floorboards, or steering wheel while driving fast
  • Your car has damaged wheel bearings or shocks
  • You notice cupped or scalloped tire wear

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact the ASE-certified technicians at The Car Shoppe in Queensbury, New York today. We’ll set your car straight. Call us now at (518) 636-3444.

Written by Developer Autoshop