Wheel Balancing and Wheel Alignment: What's the Difference?

By: Milstead Automotive | Published 10/04/2018

It's not uncommon for even experienced car owners to get confused with the terms “wheel balancing” and “wheel alignment” and end up using them interchangeably. In fact, the two terms are very similar in sound, which makes it all the more difficult to tell the difference between the two. However, for better handling, safety, and improved tire lifespan, it is necessary that you know when your car requires a wheel balancing or alignment procedure. With this quick guide from Milstead Automotive, knowing the difference between these two important automotive maintenance services will be easy!


What is a Wheel Balance?


Wheels are balanced when you replace two or four tires on your automobile. Because tires wear depending on driving routines and road conditions, unequal wear will start to become recognizable after the first 1,000 to 2,000 miles of usage. Wheels must be checked for balance every 4,000 to6,000 miles. Milstead Automotive’s tire technicians can easily help identify whether your tires should be rotated and balanced based on wear or mileage.
How to tell if your tires require balancing:

• Vibrations when driving

• Uneven tread wear

• Steering that becomes less smooth over the life of the tires

• Pulling to one side

Tire balancing is important to extend the life of your tires, as well as increase the basic safety of your vehicle. Out-of-balance tires can lead to uneven wear, vibration, decreased fuel economy, and potentially unsafe driving performance. It is very important to balance tires frequently based on your car's requirements.

What is a Wheel Alignment?


A wheel alignment is done at the time brand-new tires are set up and can easily be checked with your regular tire rotation. Wheels must be lined up correctly to keep suitable control of your car. Wheels that are out of position could cause driving to become difficult, in addition to uneven ware on your tires. When your wheels are properly lined up, your car will offer a smoother, straighter ride.

Your wheels may have to be lined up if:

• You experience vibration when turning

• The steering wheel pulls to the left or right

• The steering wheel is not straight when driving on a straight roadway

• Your tire tread is wearing unevenly


At Milstead Automotive, an alignment check features an assessment of the steering and suspension components; examination of the tires for size, inflation and wear; and comparison of your tire alignment to automobile manufacturer guidelines.

Trust Your Tires to Milstead Automotive!

Don’t let these two common automotive terms leave you in confusion. Whether you’re dealing with uncomfortable vibrations or difficult steering, leave your next wheel alignment or balancing to the experienced service technicians at Milstead Automotive! Call us or easily schedule your appointment online today. We look forward to providing your car or truck the best in automotive repair and maintenance.
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