The ongoing tasks of automotive care can seem overwhelming to differentiate between. Suspension components like shocks and struts have slight variations that can confuse the average driver, which can lead to being taken advantage of by automotive shops. Even processes that might seem similar to drivers can be extremely different from one another. For example, wheel alignment and wheel balancing are two very different procedures that often get confused.
Wheel alignment is a technique that makes adjustments to all four wheels in relation to one another. For instance, they all should be exactly parallel and forward facing to the same degree. Wheel balancing is focusing on each individual wheel, locating the various weak spots on the tire and adjusting the individual wheel with weights that make up for the weak spots. Wheel balancing and wheel alignments are important to integrate into your regular routine of automotive care, and are relatively affordable procedures. In this article we’ll go over when you should have your wheels balanced and some of the benefits of keeping your wheels appropriately balanced year-round.
Wheel balancing doesn’t need to occur as frequently as perhaps oil changes should; however, it’s an important aspect of maintenance that should not go overlooked throughout the year. Having your wheels balanced on a set schedule can be helpful for continuity sake, but it’s most appropriate to have your wheels balanced when you repair or replace any of your four tires, or during tire rotations. Tire rotations usually occur every few months or so, and are relatively affordable.
Keeping your wheels balanced comes with great benefits. Ultimately, it can bring you more noticeable enjoyment in your drives, and it can spare you tons of money in repairs down the line. These are some of the biggest advantages to keeping your wheels properly balanced:
Tires are expensive, and they are your car’s main point of contact with the ground. It’s important to keep them in good working condition to avoid flats, blowouts, and expensive replacements. When your tires are balanced correctly, they should all wear evenly. This gives your tires better grip and traction, and lessens the chance of an accident at high speeds.
When tires are balanced, they make even contact with the ground’s surface. This reduces unnecessary friction, which promotes optimal fuel ranges for your car. Fuel efficiency is one of the most telling aspects of vehicle health, and simply keeping your tires balanced could increase your gas mileage and promote overall vehicle health.
Your suspension is one of the most complex systems in your car, and it takes a huge load of impact. Your wheels are one of the first parts of the suspension to take hits from road imperfections, curbs, ditches, dips, and speed bumps; therefore, it’s important to make sure they’re kept in optimal condition so that the other components of your suspension do not suffer. Replacing suspension parts can add up quickly, as they’re all connected in some way. It’s best to avoid costly suspension repairs by keeping your wheels well balanced.
When you take a car for a test drive, one of the first-noticed aspects of the car is if it produces a smooth ride or not. Cars that have unbalanced wheels often create a rough ride that feels unstable and somewhat bumpy. Lopsided tires can have a huge effect on ride comfort. Especially if you pride your car on its smoothness, having your wheels checked out and properly balanced can keep your car driving and performing smoothly.