In this article we are going to answer your question, “Should I balance my tires before an alignment?”
As a driver, you’ve probably heard about the importance of tire balancing and tire alignment. If a car manufacturer sets the wheels and tires straight, you are pretty much guaranteed that your vehicle is going to handle well.
The question is, is it necessary to balance your tires before you have your alignment checked? Let us settle the dilemma once and for all.
Should I balance my tires before an alignment?
This is a good question for drivers to ask because it means that they are aware of the importance of proper wheel alignment and balancing not just for tire performance but also for their safety. Tire balancing is important and should be done more often, while wheel alignment doesn’t need to be performed as regularly.
Related: How Much Does a Tire Rotation Cost? Top 3 Best Tire Service Centers
Should I balance my tires before an alignment? In general, you don’t have to balance your tires before an alignment. The two are different processes. Balancing your tires will help cure vibration, and an alignment will make sure that your vehicle is driving straight.
You should realize, however, that both processes can address the issue of uneven tire wear. Fortunately, just by looking at tire wear patterns, you can already pinpoint the cause of the problem. This saves you from undergoing both balancing and alignment to fix the issue. Rarely, if you are unsure what causes the uneven wear of your tires, then balancing your tires before an alignment would eliminate both possible causes.
Wheel balancing vs alignment
Now that we have answered your question “Should I balance my tires before an alignment”, let’s discuss the difference between the two. As mentioned above, tire balancing and tire alignment are different processes altogether.
Let’s examine both of these procedures as follows:
Tire Balancing – check for uneven wear on tires – can reduce vibrations
Wheel Alignment – checks car steering angles, angles of wheels and tires relative to each other – can affect handling and safety
What is tire balancing?
Tire balancing is a process of using weights to create evenly distributed weight in the tires. It is an important step because it can help you correct vibration and abnormal tire wear.
Can I ignore an out-of-balance tire? If you don’t balance your tires, you are not going to be comfortable or safe while driving. For instance, an unbalanced tire will make the ride extremely uncomfortable with shaking and wobbling. And this is not only bad for the driver but also for the safety of their vehicle.
How do I know if my tires need to be balanced?
According to https://www.tirereview.com/, The three basic signs that you need to balance your tires:
• When a tire is replaced or repaired
• When a balance weight is moved or falls off
• When new tires are purchased
Wheel and tire technicians know that balancing assemblies will make your vehicle more stable. This not only improves wear on the tires, but it increases fuel efficiency and eliminates uneven tire wear brought on by a vibrating wheel.
Statistically, you’ll experience vibration when driving at speeds of 50 mph to 70 mph. Those who do not drive fast nor on expressways may not notice their vehicle’s tires are unbalanced, but the damage remains present nevertheless.
How often should I balance my tires?
We recommend rebalancing your tires every 12,000 miles driven or every other rotation. You can save money and avoid future repairs by having your tires balanced when they’re rotated.
What is wheel alignment?
A wheel alignment helps align the wheels of your vehicle to the ground, which stabilizes the car’s ride and reduces tire wear. Misaligned wheels often arise when you hit a pothole, drive over a curb, experience tire replacement or deal with other severe damage.
A common misalignment error is a toe, which occurs when the front wheel points outward. You can notice this when your tires wear irregularly. Another common misalignment error is the camber when one side of your vehicle’s wheels are lower than the other. You can notice this if one side of your vehicle’s tires wears down faster than the other.
How do I know if my wheels need to be aligned?
In general, the tires of your vehicle wear unevenly due to a misalignment. You can notice uneven tire wear by looking at the tread on each tire. If one side is wearing down faster than another, then it’s time for an alignment.
Signs that indicate you need an alignment
• A pull in or push in when you’re driving straight
• Tire wear on one side of the tread
• Pulling into or out of a parking spot
• Difficulty steering in tight turns
How often should I get an alignment?
According to Tire Review, most vehicles require an alignment every 2 to 3 years. However, depending on driving conditions, some vehicles may need an alignment sooner or later. You can also go for a wheel alignment every time you change the oil in your vehicle.
Tire balance and alignment cost
The average cost for an alignment is $100 – $200, with the standard cost being around $150. If you only need to adjust the front wheels, that will be on average about $75 or less.
On average, tire shops offer free balancing on tires when you purchase them. You may have to pay for it otherwise and prices can be between $15 and $75 depending on the vehicle, tires used, or store.
Hopefully, after reading this article, we have answered your dilemma “Should I balance my tires before an alignment? “. Although both processes can address uneven tire wear problems, they are different and serve different purposes.
It doesn’t matter if you balance or align your tires first. They do not affect the other in terms of balancing or alignment. You can balance first and then have your alignment done, or do it the other way around.
But before you go ahead with any of these solutions, make sure you take your vehicle to a professional who specializes in wheel repairs and maintenance to make sure you get the best service for the most affordable price.
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Have you tried balancing or aligning your tires? Let us know in the comments below!