The importance of wheel alignment and wheel balancing
A car that is out of alignment tends to pull or drift away from a straight line, while a balanced wheel provides a smoother ride by minimizing tire bounce, which will in turn help improve traction and steering control as well as extend tire life.
Although the terms wheel balancing and wheel alignment sound similar, there is a significant difference between their functions and in order to understand the importance of wheel balancing and wheel alignment, it is necessary to understand the differences between the two.
As we run you through a brief understanding of the two concepts, we also suggest you schedule a visit at your nearest authorized Ford dealers in Bangalore to book a service appointment for your wheels.
When a wheel is originally fitted to a vehicle, usually it is usually perfectly balanced. However, over the time, wheels tend to lose balance causing the distribution of weight and contact patch to vary.
When a technician balances the wheels, they typically apply a calibrated spin balancer, and will normally also test both the static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving) aspects of wheel balance and any existing unevenness is corrected.
Wheel balancing is a service that’s normally done when tires are rotated on the vehicle, or roughly every six to 12 months, depending on the vehicle and its use.
Incorrectly balanced wheels often cause the steering wheel to vibrate at certain speeds - usually at high speeds on a dual carriageway or motorway above 50mph - which often suggests your front wheels are unbalanced.
Similarly, you might feel vibrations in the floor or seats which is typically associated with unbalanced rear wheels.
Balance issues can also cause accelerated wear of your tyres, steering components and suspension which could prove costly in the long run.
It's recommended that wheel balancing is checked during a service (which should be conducted annually) and every time the tyres are changed.
If your wheels are perfectly balanced, you can expect to receive a safer driving experience with fewer vibrations through the car.
You'll have a more comfortable and smoother ride behind the steering wheel with better handling as well as longer lasting tyres and improved fuel economy.
If you notice your vehicle has started to pull or one side while on a straight road, it is a sign that the tyres have become misaligned. Similarly, the steering wheel may be off-centre when you're driving straight.
Wheel alignment differs in that it involves an adjustment of the angle of the vehicle’s wheels. This is normally done based on the manufacturer’s recommended specifications. A wheel alignment usually includes a tire tread check along with the three basic components for measuring wheel orientation, involving the toe, camber and caster.
Wheel alignment, also known as tracking, checks the direction and angle of the wheels to ensure they're perpendicular to the road and parallel to each other. You can choose a 2-wheel alignment (front axle) or 4 wheel alignment (front and rear axles).
Wheel alignments are generally recommended if the vehicle feels like it’s pulling to one side, if it has been involved in an accident, or during annual inspections. Since vehicle use will differ among drivers, there is no specific mileage or designated timeline for wheel alignments. For these reasons, the manufacturer’s recommendations as well as those of your automotive facility are likely to be the best sources of advice concerning alignments.
Incorrect wheel alignment can also cause uneven tyre wear, increased fuel consumption, and you could experience uneven braking. It's recommended that wheel alignment is conducted at least once a year, especially if your vehicle is fitted with any Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Adaptive Cruise Control or Lane Keep Assist.
To get the maximum benefit from a wheel alignment service, you should always opt for 4-wheel alignment. Unlike a 2-wheel alignment, which simply performs tracking on the front wheels, a 4-wheel alignment will ensure all tyres have been checked and reset to manufacturer settings to provide optimum performance levels.
Correctly aligned tyres will reduce the risk of other parts wearing prematurely (e.g. suspension) helping you to save further money on potentially costly repairs.
You can always visit your nearest Ford Service Center in Bangalore or call for an emergency assistance.
Wheel alignments and wheel balancing are both important for ensuring safe and efficient operation of your vehicle, including requirements for control in difficult road, weather and driving conditions, as well as to ensure that you benefit from the longest use of your tires.
At PPS Ford, we offer customized service packages following the Ford service promise that ensure quality and transparency, so book an appointment at your nearest PPS Ford, Bangalore to avail a wheel balance and alignment check.