Understanding Automotive Issues

What Are The Differences Between Rotating, Aligning, And Balancing Your Tires?

Tire balancing generally happens when you are getting your tires aligned or rotated. It can help you with your steering and your braking. A lot of people think that rotating, aligning, and balancing your tires are the same thing, especially since they can happen at the same time. So, what exactly are they?


Aligning your tires is when the tech takes them and sets your tires so that they are perfectly straight, both with themselves and with the angle that you are driving. Your front tires should be aligned together so that they will point forward and be perfectly parallel, same with your rear tires. Then your driver and passenger tires will be set so that they are perfectly in line with each other. When you are driving after your tires have been aligned, you should only see two perfect tire tracks. 


Your service tech may balance your tires when they are aligning them so that you get the best ride possible. When your tires are perfectly balanced, the weight of your car is carried through the tires evenly. The biggest reason that your tires need to be balanced periodically is that even though they look perfect, each tire has small imperfections in them which will cause the car to be slightly out of balance. When they are installed, the service tech will use some attachments which come with the tire and put them in the best possible place to make sure that the tire is properly balanced. They will be able to tell that because they have a machine that they can use with your car that will tell them where the best places to put the weights are so that the car is balanced correctly. 


Rotating your tires means taking the tires from where they are and putting them in a new position on your car. This is done to keep the tires wearing out the same way and to keep your gas mileage and ride better. Generally, the tires are rotated in an X pattern. The rear passenger side tire will switch with the front passenger tire and vice versa. You will need to do this periodically. 

Generally, all three things are done at the same time because if you are going to have to have your tires adjusted, it just makes sense to have it all done at once, but you can have any one of these processes done by itself, if you so desire. Contact a shop, like Foster's Auto Service Inc, to schedule an appointment.