How Do I Know If I Need an Alignment or Balance?

While driving, it is common to feel that your vehicle is making weird noises, and the drive is also not smooth. In this situation, it is hard to figure out what the issue is with your auto. Some of your friends may recommend you to have wheel alignment, while others recommend having wheel balancing. But how do I know if I need an alignment or balance?

Before you decide which service to have, you need to understand what wheel alignment and balancing are.

What is Wheel Balancing?

The tire manufacturing brands are manufacturing as precise tires as they can. But still, somehow, there is some improper weight distribution in the tires. This improper weight distribution can cause many damages to the vehicle if not balanced on time. When you take your vehicle on a drive at high speed, your vehicle wheels will start to shake and cause the whole auto to vibrate.

The procedure of balancing the unbalanced tires is known as wheel balancing. The wheel balancing process requires you to put the tire-mounted wheel on the balancing machine. The wheel balancing machine then rotates the wheel to figure out where the weight should eliminate and where to add.

You may be thinking this process is pretty simple. Why are people considering it as a hectic task? For you, it might seem simple, but this process requires you to pay 100% attention. Even if a slight difference in the weight remained, the wheel continues to shake and vibrate the vehicle.

What are the Symptoms of Unbalanced Wheels?

The common symptoms of unbalanced wheels are;

  • Unstable steering wheel.
  • Shaking wheels (worse at high speed).
  • Vibrating seats.
  • Poor fuel economy.

What Is Wheel Alignment?

While driving your vehicle, meeting jumps and obstacles is part of the road. But do you ever think about the damage these obstacles give to your auto and tires? As we all know, the front and rear wheels have a specific angle of rotation; camber, caster, and toe.

When your vehicle hits the jump or any hurdle, the rotation angle disturbs and causes the vehicle wheel to nonalignment. If your vehicle tires are nonalignment, you will face difficulties turning, reversing, and even parking the car.

The ultimate solution for a nonalignment wheel is to get your car for wheel alignment. Here the thing you have to remember is, only expert technicians can align the wheels. Considering the alignment of the wheel at home is not a good idea at all.

What Are the Symptoms of the Nonalignment Wheel?

Just like the unbalanced wheels start to show their symptoms, the nonalignment wheels will also show the following signs;

  • Squealing tires.
  • Uneven drive.
  • Noisy steering.
  • Wheel pulling to the right or the left side.
  • Bowing steering wheel.
  • Rapid tear wear.

See alsoWheel Alignment vs Wheel Balancing – Comparison War

How Do I Know If I Need an Alignment or Balance?

Here comes the main question. How will you get to know that either your wheels need alignment or balance? Well, to figure out this, you have to observe and understand the symptoms your vehicle showing.

If you observe that your vehicle wheels are shaking, the steering wheel is unstable while driving, or if the vehicle is making noise and vibration, you need to get your auto to balance the wheels.

But if the symptoms you observe are bowing & noisy steering wheel, wheel pulling to the opposite side, difficulty in taking turns, and rapid tear wear, immediately take your vehicle for wheel alignment.

Remember, ignoring the altering symptoms of the vehicle can cause you to face many incidents. So, better to take action immediately.


We hope you are clear with the concept either you need to take your vehicle for wheel alignment or balancing. Now make sure that you select a professional for the job.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I balance my tires before an alignment?

As discussed above, wheel balancing is to distribute the uneven weight of the wheel. While on the other hand, wheel alignment is to maintain the angle system of the wheels. There is no restriction that you can’t balance your tires before alignment. It is totally up to you.

Tire Balancing vs Alignment – Which one is better?

Choosing between tire balancing and alignment is difficult because both are a necessary process in their shoes. Your vehicle condition will make you decide which one is better to have.

Do tires need to be balanced when rotated?

Yes, tires need to be balanced when rotated. Rotating the tires is a process to distribute the pressure and tread wear of the tires for a smooth drive. While on the other side, wheel balancing ensures that the wheel is fitted perfectly and the weight distribution is even.

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