What is the importance of a wheel balance & wheel alignment?

It's all very well to have a fine set of tyres on your car, but you can experience big problems if your tyres are out of balance, or alignment.

Just one affected wheel not only degrades the way the vehicle drives, but is also capable of compromising safety. If the suspension alignment is bad enough your car may feel like it is vibrating, or the steering tries to pull the car to either the left or the right and requires an extra careful hand at the wheel. 

Everyday wear and tear takes its toll as well, which means that after even a few incident-free years the car drives with less precision. 

It is therefore necessary that every vehicle has its tyres and wheels checked by a tyre centre at regular intervals (every 10,000km is the common recommendation), not just for damaged sidewalls, embedded stones and/or nails in the rubber casing, but also for signs of uneven wear that are a sure indicator of something being no longer quite right with the suspension.

Irregular tyre wear not only means earlier replacement of the tyre(s), but also increases fuel consumption.

An out-of-balance wheel can usually (but not always), be fixed quickly and without fuss, while suspension misalignment requires specialised equipment measuring essentials such as caster (the forward or backward tilt of the steering axis, when viewed from the side), camber (the angle between the centreline of the front wheel and the vertical) and toe-in or toe-out (the alignment of the front wheels closer together at the front than at the back, or vice versa). 

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