When it comes to the maintenance of your vehicle, ensuring your wheels are properly balanced and aligned is crucial. Not only does this contribute to a smooth and comfortable ride, but it also enhances safety and extends the lifespan of your tires. In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of wheel alignment and wheel balancing, and answer the burning question: How long does wheel balance last?
The Importance of Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment, also referred to as tracking, is the process of adjusting the angles of the wheels to the manufacturer’s specifications. Proper wheel alignment ensures that your vehicle’s tires make optimal contact with the road, providing several benefits:
Enhanced Tire Life: When your wheels are properly aligned, the tires wear more evenly. This tends to extend the lifespan of your tires and saves you money in the long run.
Improved Fuel Efficiency: Proper alignment reduces rolling resistance, leading to improved fuel efficiency. Misaligned wheels can cause your vehicle to work harder, consuming more fuel.
Better Handling: A well-aligned vehicle handles better, providing a safer and more comfortable driving experience. It also reduces the risk of skidding and loss of control.
The Significance of Wheel Balancing
Wheel balancing, on the other hand, involves redistributing the weight of the wheel & tire assembly to ensure they rotate evenly. Proper wheel balancing offers the following benefits:
Smooth Ride: Unbalanced wheels can cause vibrations, leading to a less comfortable driving experience. Balancing the wheels eliminates these vibrations and promotes a smooth ride.
Reduced Tire Wear: Uneven tire wear is often the result of imbalanced wheels. Regular wheel balancing extends the life of your tires, saving you money and ensuring your safety.
Improved Handling: Balancing your wheels enhances vehicle stability and handling, reducing the risk of accidents due to loss of control.
How Long Does Wheel Balance Last?
The longevity of wheel balance depends on various factors, including your driving habits, road conditions, and the quality of the balancing service. On average, a well-balanced wheel can last between 6,000 to 12,000 miles. However, you should be vigilant for signs of imbalance and address them promptly. To maintain optimal balance and extend the life of your tires, it’s advisable to check the balance every 6,000 miles or during routine tire rotations.
What Causes Misalignment or Unbalanced Tires?
Misalignment or unbalanced tires can be caused by various factors, and they are two distinct issues that can affect a vehicle’s handling and performance. Let’s look at each of them separately:
Camber Misalignment: Camber refers to an angle of the tire when observed from the front or rear of the vehicle. If the top of the tire tilts inward (negative camber) or outward (positive camber) excessively, it can result from worn suspension components or improper adjustments.
Toe Misalignment: Toe alignment refers to the angle of the tires when viewed from above. If
the front of the tires points towards each other (toe-in) or away from each other (toe-out) more than recommended, it can lead to uneven tire wear and steering problems. This can be caused by worn tie rods or incorrect adjustments.
Caster Misalignment: A caster angle is an angle of the steering pivot when observed from the side. A misaligned caster can cause steering instability and can result from damaged or worn-out components.
Tire Imbalance (Wheel Balancing):
Static Imbalance: This occurs when there is an uneven distribution of weight around the tire’s circumference. It can be caused by manufacturing variations in the tire or rim, or the accumulation of dirt and mud on the tire.
Dynamic Imbalance: This imbalance occurs when there is a weight imbalance not only around the circumference but also across the width of the tire. It can result from uneven tire wear or the presence of foreign objects like mud or ice stuck to the tire.
Runout: Runout refers to imperfections in the tire or wheel that can cause it to wobble as it
rotates. This can be caused by damage to the wheel or tire.
Both wheel alignment and wheel balancing are pivotal for the overall performance & safety of your vehicle. While the frequency of wheel alignment checks may be less frequent, wheel balancing is a more regular maintenance task.
Neglecting these crucial aspects of vehicle maintenance may lead to uneven tire wear, lower fuel efficiency, and a less comfortable driving experience. Ready to keep your ride smooth and safe? Don’t let vibrations and uneven wear slow you down. Contact Tire One Nashville at (615) 465-8171 and take control of your vehicle’s performance today.