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Wheel it Right - Align it- Balance it

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What is Tyre Alignment?

Tyre or wheel alignment refers to the adjustment made to a vehicle’s suspension (a system that connects a vehicle to the wheel). It is merely not an adjustment to the tyres but the entire system itself. It involves altering the angle in which the tyre makes contact with the road. 

Wheel Alignment

This alignment helps improve your car’s performance, helps tyres last longer and also improves the handling and keeps the vehicle from leaning toward one direction, pulling in one direction, or cause sudden vibration on the road.

Do I Need Tyre Alignment?

  • Vehicle pulling to one direction either right or left
  • Uneven tread wear
  • Vibration of the steering wheel
  • The steering wheel is off centre when driving straight

The above mentioned are few signs that show up when your tyres require immediate attention or wheel alignment. If you notice any of these factors occurring, then you need to get your car checked immediately by a technician.

There are a few main factors the Auto Technician will look into:

  • Camber – The inward (negative tilt) or outward (positive tilt) angle of the tyre when observed from the front of the car. Too much of a tilt to either side will mean the tyres need to be aligned. The camber misalignment occurs due to worn-out ball bearings, ball joints and other wheel suspension parts.
  • Toe – The intensity with which the tyres turn inward or outward when observed from the above angle.
  • Caster – Steering, cornering and stability are balanced with the help of the caster. If positive, the steering axis will tilt toward the driver and if negative, it will tilt towards the front of the vehicle. This is observed from the side of your car.

Is it totally necessary?

Yes, the lack of proper alignment will cause wear and tear of the tyre at a premature stage.

Tyre Balancing

This is different from wheel alignment but performed in combination with tyre alignment. Tyre balancing refers to coverage of weight imbalance in the wheel. There are two types of imbalances which need to be tended to static or single plane (vertical movement which can cause vibration) and dynamic or dual plane (vertical and lateral movement).

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The tyre balancing of the vehicle is to be performed by a technician. To start off, the technician will place the tyres on the correct rims and alter the pressure to ideal inflation. After which, each tyre is moved to a balancing machine. This machine spins the tyre at high-speed to measure the wheel imbalance. It will indicate the weight that the technician should add in order to balance out the wheels and it will also show the areas where weight needs to be added. 

Do I Need Wheel Balancing?

Here are a few factors which show that you need to get wheel balancing done: 

  • Steering wheel, floorboard or seat vibration at certain speeds on the highway
  • Scalloped wear patterns on the tyre

This needs to be performed for the same reason as wheel alignment. All in all, both tyre alignment and wheel balancing are two different things although they are often confused for one. The outcomes of the two are the same. If you are experiencing any unusual wear and tear patterns, get a technician to check it immediately. The overall vehicle performance too can be affected if it is not taken care of at an initial stage.

As the saying goes – “prevention is better than cure”, getting everything checked and tended to in the beginning is a good thing - rather than waiting it out and suffering towards the end. You can learn all this and more, new car launches, vehicle updates, used car valuation, unique products in Indian Blue Book.

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