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April 23, 2021What’s the Difference Between Wheel Alignment, Tracking & Balance?

There is no doubt about it. Your tyres are one of the most important aspects of your car. If something goes wrong, the consequences can be severe so it’s important to address the problem as soon as it occurs. 

Wheel alignment, tracking and balance are three problems that can have a significant impact on your tyres and car. Often, people mix up these issues thinking they’re one and the same. But this is not the case, and it’s vital to get a proper diagnosis of the problem in order to fix it.

Your garage will be able to distinguish the difference, but we’ve put together a helpful explainer to help you understand, and recognise the signs of these faults. 

What is wheel alignment?

The more road time your car gets, the more likely it is that your wheels and tyres will encounter problems. One thing that can happen over time, is that your car’s wheels become misaligned.

If you notice that your car is beginning to pull to one side as you’re driving, then it’s likely that your tyres need realigning. Another symptom of misalignment is steering becoming harder to control and unsteady breaking. 

Wheel alignment focuses on the position of each of your tyres, checking where they are positioned on the road and ensuring they match the necessary specifications of your vehicle. 

If your tyres have become misaligned it is important to get them fixed immediately. At our Haverhill Treadfirst branch, we specialise in wheel alignments & 4 wheel alignment – helping you get back on the road.  

What is wheel tracking? 

Wheel tracking is simply another term used when describing the process of wheel alignment. It refers to the act of your car’s wheels being repositioned and set back into the positions stated by the manufacturer’s specifications. 

So, if you hear your mechanic interchanging the terms wheel alignment and wheel tracking, you’ll now know that they’re talking about the same thing.

What is wheel balancing? 

Wheel balancing refers to the distribution of vehicle weight your tyres are carrying. If you notice vibrations in your car while you’re driving, then this is a sign your wheels may be unbalanced. 

If this is the case, then your tyres, steering wheel and suspension can all become damaged so it’s important to get your car seen to. If wheel balancing is the issue, then small weights can be added to the rim of the tyres to aid with weight distribution to make the vehicle more balanced. 

Wheels can become unbalanced for a number of reasons. The main way this happens is from the car hitting kerbs and potholes which will impact weight distribution over time.  

If your car’s wheels do become unbalanced and require a redistribution of weight, then there is a specific way this is carried out. A wheel balancing machine will mount the tyres, and rotate them to check whether there is an imbalance. If any unevenness is detected, then the machine will calculate the size of the counterweight which is needed to rectify the problem.   

At Treadfirst, we can help with various wheel alignment & balancing issues, as well as supplying tyres for a whole host of vehicles from all of our locations, including our Haverhill branch. To find out more about our services, contact our team today.

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