Home > Auto Repair Blog > Do You Know the Difference Between Wheel Alignment & Wheel Balancing?

Most vehicle owners have these two procedures done at the same time. However, the truth is that most vehicle owners don’t actually understand the difference between the two. In fact, they think they are the same thing. But, when it comes to your car, it’s important to know that wheel balancing and wheel alignment are totally different procedures.

Wheel Balancing

How Often Is a Wheel Alignment Necessary?When you have your wheels balanced, the mechanic puts the tire/wheel on a balancing machine, which centers the wheel and spins it around to determine where exactly the weight should go. Even a slight imbalance can become a major problem at high speeds.

Generally, wheel balancing issues are indicated by unusual vibrations. You may have noticed your steering wheel shuddering when driving on the highway at a certain speed – but not on other occasions. You might also notice vibrations on the floorboard or in the seats.

Wheel Alignment

When a mechanic performs wheel alignment on your vehicle, he is adjusting the wheels to the correct angle. The purpose is to make sure that they are parallel to each other, and that they are perpendicular to the ground. Alignment helps increase the lifespan of your tires, while also helping to keep your car traveling in a straight line – not veering off to one side. Excessive tire wear is a common sign of improper alignment.