Wheel Alignment vs. Wheel Balance

It seems like there is a never-ending list of tire maintenance that car owners have to follow. There is no surprise that most people confuse tire alignment and tire balance considering they both serve to smoothen your ride. Let's go into detail on the difference between wheel alignment vs. wheel balance.


Wheel Alignment is the process of changing the angles of the wheels so that they can make contact with the road more evenly. Your wheels need to be parallel with each other when you drive. These adjustments will extend the life of your tires and keep your vehicle driving straight when you need it to. Here are some of the warning signs of misaligned wheels:

  • Uneven or accelerated tire wear
  • Pulling or drifting 
  • Veering on a straight, level road
  • Off-centered and stiff steering wheel
  • Squealing tire sounds

Wheel Balancing fixes the weight imbalance on your tires and ensures that the wheels spin accurately. Wheel balance is a very nitpicky process. A certified technician will use a balancing device to examine the imbalance on your tires. A piece of computerized equipment tells the technician how much weight is needed to counteract the insufficiency on the tire rim. The technician will then add, or subtract, the appropriate amount of weight to the wheel to correctly balance the tires. The warning signs that indicate you need a wheel balance are:

  • Steering wheel vibration 
  • General vibration at certain speeds
  • Scalloped or cupped wear on the tire exterior
  • Damaged shocks or wheel bearings 
  • Poor fuel economy 

It is recommended that you have your wheels balanced every time you have your tires rotated or replaced. However, the interval to which you should get a wheel alignment and wheel balance vary depending on your vehicle's make and usage. Aligned and balanced wheels are essential to the maneuverability of your car. Our accredited technicians will have your wheels running smoothly and safely on the road in no time. If you require a tire balance or wheel alignment performed, please bring it to Willow Bend Automotive. We are conveniently located in Lutz, FL.