One of the most critical aspects of car maintenance is ensuring proper wheel alignment and correct tyre balancing. Generally speaking, this type of car service is performed to maintain vehicle safety and ensure a comfortable ride while on the road, lengthen tyre life by minimising wear and tear, and improve fuel economy. Many car owners take their car to the auto shop for wheel alignment and tyre balancing service but do not have the slightest clue about what this type of service entails. Here is a run down of what tyre balancing and wheel alignment is all about.
Tyre Balancing Process
Tyre balancing, also called wheel balancing, involves equalising the weight of the entire tyre and wheel assembly in order to ensure it rotates smoothly at various speeds while on the road. The tyre/wheel assembly is put on a wheel balancing machine known as a balancer. The machine centres each of the wheels and spins them rapidly to determine where the imbalances are, and subsequently where the weights need to be placed.
When there are imbalances in your wheels/tyres, you may feel an unusual vibration stemming from your steering wheel or the car may shake back and forth while you are driving, especially at a high speed. You should take your car to the mechanic shop right away when you notice this happening, as it will cause faster tyre wear, but also compromise your safety and that of other motorists.
In actual fact, tyres and wheels can never have the exact same weight all around because they've got varying degrees of roundness – they're both not perfectly round. Tyre balancing or wheel balancing only helps to offset these imperfections, so as to minimise vibration.
Wheel Alignment Process
In determining the correct wheel alignment, the various suspension angles that impact wheel/tyre position and movement are measured, analysed and then adjusted. The adjusted suspension angles comprise: the camber, caster, toe and thrust.
Camber adjustment is performed to make sure there is maximum contact between tyres and the ground, minimising tyre wear and boosting car turning performance; caster adjustment helps improve steering stability when driving at certain speeds; toe adjustment is required to ensure the wheels rotate parallel to each other when the vehicle is running; and thrust angle alignment is carried out to find out if the rear axles are parallel to the front axles.
Once all the primary suspension angles adjustments have been made, your mechanic will inspect other steering and suspension system parts, such as bushings, bearings, and shock absorbers, which may require repair or replacement.Share