Balancing and alignment, do you really need it?

Adrian Chia · Sep 27, 2019 03:37 PM

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Whenever you install a fresh set of tyres, your tyre shop operator will most definitely perform wheel balancing and alignment. Of course, it always comes at an extra cost.

Your question would be, is it necessary to do balancing and alignment? Or is it just a gimmick for your tyre shop operator to make a quick buck? Before you make a conclusion, let’s first understand what is balancing and alignment.

You know how your tyre operator puts your wheel onto a machine and stick some weights onto your rim? That’s balancing.

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The weights help to even out the distribution of mass of your entire wheel ensuring that the wheels have an even and balanced rotation. When your wheels are not balanced, you will experience excessive vibration through the steering wheel at speeds as the wheels are not rotating evenly.

This can be uncomfortable and worrying for the driver. It also causes the tyre to wear unevenly, affecting the tyre's performance and longevity.

Wheel alignment, on the other hand, is the adjustment of the wheel angles to ensure that the car tracks in a straight line when the steering wheel is pointing straight. The purpose of this does not only make going straight effortless (as all cars should), but also reduces the tyre wear as you don’t have to constantly correct your steering angle when travelling in a straight line.

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Even steel wheels need to do alignment too

A sign that your car needs an alignment job is when your car drifts out of line (on level ground) even when your steering is pointing straight. Another way to tell that you need to get your alignment checked is when your steering is not pointing straight when going in a straight line.

The one thing that upsets your car’s balancing and alignment is hitting a pothole hard which sends a jolt through your whole car. Having said that, even if you avoid all the potholes in Klang Valley, the settings will still gradually deteriorate as you clock up mileage.

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Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Wheel balancing and alignment often go hand-in-hand as they’re both tyre-related maintenance. The recommended interval to get them checked is every 10,000 km. However, if you feel your steering vibrates excessively at speeds or your car doesn’t track in a straight line, it is advisable to get your balancing and alignment checked.

The benefits of proper balancing and alignment are that your car is significantly more comfortable and sharper to drive and more importantly, reduces unnecessary wear to your tyres.

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As a driving enthusiast, I need my car to perform as accurately as possible, hence I spend the extra time and effort to get my balancing and alignment checked as often as I can. But if you’re not as anal as I am, you should still check your balancing and alignment every 10,000 km.

Adrian Chia

Editor

Psychology graduate with over 4 years in the automotive industry, 3 in front of the camera. Occasionally seen at his family owned tyre shop. Will only buy cars that passes the big bottle test.

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