Difference Between Wheel Alignment And Wheel Balancing

Date: January 30, 2024

The components of your automobile work together in an interdependent manner, creating a complex system. When even a single part becomes damaged, it won't be long before the problem extends to other interconnected parts and causes a severe malfunction. The problem of incorrect wheel alignment and balancing can seriously affect your car's operation, causing suspension damage and impacting tire health.

What is Tire Alignment?

The term “alignment” refers to the suspension adjustment that links a vehicle to its wheels. The adjustment does not involve the tires or wheels directly. Wheel alignment adjusts the suspension of a vehicle to control how the tires make contact with the road. Manufacturers set the alignment for each vehicle model to optimize its performance and handling. Proper alignment is important for both safety and tire wear, so it should be regularly addressed during servicing.

Why is wheel alignment necessary?

There are several important reasons why wheel alignment is crucial.

Tire wear: When wheels are misaligned, it can lead to uneven tire wear. As a result, tires will wear out faster in specific areas, leading to shorter lifespan and the requirement for more frequent replacements.

Fuel efficiency: If the wheels are not properly aligned, it can lead to higher rolling resistance, requiring the engine to exert more effort in moving the vehicle. Fuel efficiency can be reduced and fuel consumption can increase as a result.

Handling and safety: Better handling, stability, and overall vehicle performance are enhanced by properly aligned wheels. Safety on the road can be compromised when wheels are misaligned, affecting steering, traction, and braking.

How Do I Know if I Need a Tire Alignment?

You can determine if your car needs a tire alignment in a few different ways. If you have noticed any of these signs, it is advisable to have a licensed service technician check your alignment immediately.

Uneven tread wear

If your vehicle is pulling to the left or right

When driving straight, the position of the steering wheel is off center

Steering wheel vibration


When it comes to a tire alignment check, technicians primarily look for three specific things.

  1. Camber

When looking from the front of the vehicle, this is the angle of the tire, either inward or outward. When there is too much inward or outward tilt, also called negative and positive camber, it means the alignment is incorrect and needs to be fixed. Camber misalignment may result from the deterioration of bearings, ball joints, and other wheel-suspension components.

  1. Toe

Unlike camber alignment, toe alignment measures the inward or outward turning of your tires when viewed from above. If you’re confused, try standing up and directing your gaze towards your feet. Adjust their angle so they face inward, towards the center of your body. Toe-in alignment refers to when the tires on your car are angled in the same direction. If you angle your feet outward, you’ll be in a toe-out alignment. Adjustments are needed for both.

  1. Caster

Steering, stability, and cornering are all influenced by your caster angle for balancing. To be more specific, it is the angle of the steering axis as observed from the side of your vehicle. When there is a positive caster, the steering axis will lean towards the driver. On the other hand, negative caster refers to the inclination of the steering axis towards the front of the car.

What is Wheel Balancing?

Wheel balancing, or tire balancing, addresses weight imbalance issues in the wheels. Imbalanced wheels can cause vibration, tire wear, suspension damage, and other issues.

Your tires and wheels are placed on a tire balancing machine during a tire balance service. To ensure a balanced wheel and tire assembly, the machine spins it to measure any imbalance, allowing a technician to install the correct tire weights with precision. Wheel balancing and alignment are often done together as part of a single service, but it is important to understand that they are not the same thing.

Signs You Need Wheel Balancing

If you notice uneven tire wear or feel vibrations in your steering wheel, floorboard, or seat, it may be a sign that your tires need balancing. It's a good idea to have your tires balanced when getting a tire rotation, after fixing a flat tire, or as part of your regular maintenance.

The interesting thing is that the trembling of a particular car component can indicate whether the front or rear wheels need balancing. The front tires are probably the reason if you feel it in the steering wheel. If it's found in the seats, the back wheels are imbalanced.

Uneven tire wear or hitting a curb or pothole can cause tires to become unbalanced. Leaving your car parked for too long without driving may cause flat spots to form on the tires, leading to imbalances.

When Should You Consider Wheel Balancing?

If you detect any vibrations or wobbling while driving, or whenever you install new tires, it is a good idea to get your wheels balanced. It is advised to get alloy wheels balanced if your car has them every 5,000 to 7,000 kilometres (3,000 to 4,000 miles) or when you do routine tire rotations.

Difference Between Wheel Alignment And Wheel Balancing

Wheel Alignment VS Wheel Balancing
Wheel BalanceA wheel balance is used to adjust the weight imbalance on your tyre and wheel assembliesIf you notice uneven tire wear or vibrations in your steering wheel, floorboard, or seat.Proper balance can contribute to a smoother ride, decreased tire wear, and less strain on the drivetrain.
Wheel AlignmentAligning the tires corrects their angles to ensure proper road contact.If your vehicle pulls to one side, has rapid tire wear, squealing tires, or a crooked steering wheel when driving straight, there may be an issue.When your tires are properly aligned, you enjoy a smoother ride and your tires last longer.

Are you experiencing any symptoms of car balance and alignment issues? Fasttrack Emarat is the ultimate destination for all your wheel and tire service requirements. At our service centre, we provide a range of services, including alignment checks, balancing, and rotation, to ensure your car moves smoothly and safely to your destination. Our technicians are equipped to assist you with any wheel issues, ensuring your car is safe, secure, and prepared for the mileage you require.