Tire Balancing vs. Tire Alignment vs. Wheel Alignment: What’s the Difference?

Tire Balancing Machine

Tire Balancing vs. Tire Alignment vs. Wheel Alignment: What’s the Difference?

Tire maintenance might seem like an afterthought, but responsible Fresno, California drivers should always keep up with the tasks that fall into this category. Creating and sticking to a tire maintenance schedule will:

  • Protect your tires. Well-maintained tires are less likely to experience sudden failures.
  • Promote even tire wear. If you pay attention to your tires’ balancing and alignment, they’ll have a better chance of wearing evenly. 
  • Improve your fuel economy. When your tires are in good condition, your engine won’t have to work as hard — helping you save money on gas in the process.

Before you visit a tire shop for maintenance, it’s wise to understand exactly what tire shop services you need in the first place. Here, you’ll find Goodguys Tire & Auto Repair’s in-depth overview of the differences between tire balancing, tire alignment, and wheel alignment.

What Is Tire Balancing?

All four tires should be as similar as possible for maximum functionality, meaning it’s crucial for your wheels to match in terms of weight. If you have a new set of tires, these wheels will come with several small weights designed to keep them balanced. But everyday tread wear can affect the weight of your tires, and poorly-balanced tires may wear unevenly.

The best way to deal with this situation is to schedule an appointment for balancing at a reliable Fresno tire shop. When you do, the mechanics working at your go-to shop will be able to weigh each of your tires and adjust the weights to bring your wheels back into balance.

All About Tire Alignment

Tire alignment is all about adjusting the angles at which your car’s tires meet the street. Surprisingly, this task does not focus on direct adjustments to your tires. The mechanics handling this work will instead adjust your vehicle’s suspension — the system connecting your car’s body to its wheels.

Alignment issues can occur when your car’s suspension drifts from its factory settings. If that happens, you may notice problems such as:

  • Vibrations in your steering wheel. If your steering wheel has started vibrating while you drive, something’s wrong — and the issue might be related to your wheel alignment. Steering wheel vibrations caused by this problem can worsen when you drive at higher speeds. The only way to resolve this issue is to address the underlying problem, so schedule alignment work as soon as you notice these vibrations.
  • Difficulties keeping your steering wheel straight. While you should never let go of your steering wheel while driving, it should stay straight if you do. But that’s not always the case, especially if you have underlying alignment issues.
  • Irregular tire wear. If your tires are correctly aligned (and rotated regularly), they should experience wear at identical rates. Furthermore, most of your tire wear should occur down the middle of the tire. Tires that wear too quickly or in unusual patterns may not be appropriately aligned.

Is Wheel Alignment Different From Tire Balancing?

Though they have similar names, tire balancing, and tire alignment are two completely different auto maintenance tasks. With that in mind, you might assume something similar is the case for tire and wheel alignment.

However, “wheel alignment” and “tire alignment” are actually two different names for the same service. No matter what you or your tire shop of choice call this job, it still involves tweaking your suspension to improve your tires’ angles.

Get Tire Balancing and Alignment at Fresno’s Best Tire Shop

Whether you need tire balancing, alignment work, or any other tire maintenance service, you shouldn’t attempt to handle these tasks alone. Like any other maintenance job, it’s best to find a Fresno tire shop you can trust to do this work for you. But there are many different shops in this part of California, and not all are as qualified as you might assume.

When you’re looking for a high-quality local tire shop, prioritize factors like:

  • Knowledgeable mechanics. An auto shop can’t deliver the quality service you deserve without qualified technicians. Look for shops promoting their ASE-certified mechanics, as these workers are the best of the best.
  • Reasonable prices. No self-respecting shop will knowingly overcharge its customers. In fact, the best auto shops go one step further by offering online coupons to help their clients save even more.
  • A broad service lineup. You may just be looking for wheel balancing or alignment right now, but there’s no guessing what auto services you might need in the future. Think ahead and pick an auto shop that can do it all.
  • Locations in Fresno — and beyond. Even the most careful drivers can’t know precisely when or where they’ll need service. Because of that, you’ll want to pick a shop with locations in Fresno and nearby cities like Visalia, Clovis, and Sanger.
  • Quotes for repair and maintenance work. Any reputable tire shop will tell you what you can expect to pay before starting work on your vehicle. On the other hand, not offering service quotes is a major red flag — regardless of any other qualifications a shop has.

There’s only one Fresno auto repair shop that can deliver all of these exciting benefits and more. 

To get affordable tire balancing and alignment from expert mechanics wherever you are in Fresno, schedule an appointment at Goodguys Tire & Auto Repair today!

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At Goodguys Tires & Auto Repair, our highest priority is serving our customers. We are 100% committed to you, our valued customer. We strive to make every part of your experience with us hassle-free and pleasant. That’s why we’ve created our Customer Bill of Rights. These Rights are our pledge that your business with us is subject to the highest level of service from everyone in our company.

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