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What are Wheel Alignment, Balancing, and Rotation?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 06/07/2022

Your car is an aggregation of several interconnected parts. So, if one of the parts of your car starts malfunctioning, it is only a matter of time before other connected parts also start to malfunction. One of the very crucial parts of a car is its wheels. It is the four wheels on which a car stands, and hence, they are also called the limbs of a car.

Any problem with the wheels of your car can even pose a serious threat to the driver as well as passengers. If your car gets damaged in an accident caused by unaligned wheels, you may have to spend a lot on fixing it unless you have a motor insurance policy. So, to ensure adequate passenger safety and avoid incurring unnecessary expenses, your car’s wheel alignment and wheel balancing should be accurate.

If you’re wondering what this wheel alignment and balancing is, we will tell you. In this article, we have discussed what is wheel alignment, wheel balancing, and tyre rotation. Continue reading to know more.

What is Car Wheel Alignment?

The wheel alignment of a car refers to whether all four wheels of that car are properly aligned with respect to each other and the body of the car. In other words, wheel alignment tells us whether the wheels of a car are perfectly parallel to each other or not.

Any problem with a car’s wheel alignment can impact its suspension, and the driver may feel uneasy while handling the steering. It also causes more than usual wear and tear on your car’s tyres. In that case, having insurance for your car cannot save you money because most motor insurances do not cover the cost of consumables.

What are the Symptoms of Improper Wheel Alignment?

As mentioned, proper wheel alignment is necessary to ensure safe and comfortable driving, and to prevent unnecessary wear and tear of the car’s tyres. If you’re wondering how you can determine if your car needs wheel alignment balancing or not, here are the symptoms of improper wheel alignment:

  • Your car is pulling to the either side

While driving your car, if you notice that your car is pulling or moving to either side, it can be a sign that your car’s wheel alignment and balancing are off. What you can also do is take your car to a flat parking lot or a vacant road and then leave the steering idle. If the steering is moving or tilting a bit towards the right or left, it can be due to incorrect wheel alignment.

  • Your steering wheel is vibrating a lot

If you’re noticing more than usual vibrations in your steering wheel while driving your car, it can be due to the incorrect wheel alignment. Usually, this happens while driving a car at higher speeds, i.e., above 60 kilometres per hour. But remember, these issues can also occur due to suspension-related problems in your car.

  • Uneven wear and tear of your car’s tires

Any issue with the alignment of your car’s wheels can greatly impact the health of its tyres. If you notice more than regular wear and tear in your car’s tyres or if one of the tyres is showing more degradation than others, it could be due to improper wheel alignment. When your car’s wheels are not properly aligned, tires on one side feel excessive pressure and hence, decay more than the ones on the other side.

What Causes Improper Wheel Alignment and How to Correct It?

Now that you know what is wheel alignment and how to determine if your wheels are off-balanced let us discuss why it happens.

Your car’s wheels may go out of alignment due to several reasons. A common cause behind this can be a sudden impact while riding your car at high speed. For example, you can encounter a pothole or suffer a collision with another vehicle or an object while driving your car at a good speed. A habit of taking sharp turns can also disturb your car’s wheel alignment.

In case you notice the symptoms of improper wheel alignment in your car, you can take it to a mechanic for wheel alignment balancing. The wheel alignment of a car can be corrected by adjusting the angles of its tyres through a computerised system.

While correcting the wheel alignment of a car, a technician works on the following three aspects:

  • Caster angle

It refers to the angular displacement between a car’s steering axis and the vertical axis of wheels. A negative caster angle might mean that the steering is tilted towards the front or back, and it can impact the stability and balance of the car while cornering.

  • Toe angle

It is the angle that the tyres make with a car’s longitudinal axis while turning inwards or outwards. An issue with the toe angle causes your car to pull or move towards one side (left or right) while driving in a straight line.

  • Camber angle

It refers to the angle between your wheels when viewed from the front. If there is a disturbance in the camber angle, it means that your car’s wheels are not perfectly parallel to each other. To achieve the correct wheel alignment, all three angels mentioned above have to be in sync.

What is Wheel Balancing?

After wheel alignment, let’s talk about the wheel balancing of a car. Wheel balancing refers to the alignment between the weights of different tyres and wheels of a car. If the weight of one wheel plus tyre is different from the other, it causes wheel imbalance. And unbalanced wheels can impact the drive quality and damage the suspension of your car. It can also lead to poor fuel economy.

Since the tyres of your car are the only link between the roads and your car’s body, proper wheel alignment and balancing are very crucial.

How to Correct Wheel Imbalance?

When you notice wobbles or jerks while driving your car, it might mean your wheels are imbalanced. It can also create a rattling sound and unusual vibrations while driving at high speeds. Below are the steps to correct the wheel imbalance in a car:

  1. Take off all four tyres from the car and place them on a computerised wheel balancer one by one.

  2. The computer will check the weight of all four tires and then adjudicate the irregularities in wheel balance.

  3. The computer will instruct the exact spots on the wheel's rim where the counterweights have to be placed to achieve the correct wheel balance.

In case you’re required to use a counterweight of more than 100 grams for a single wheel, we recommend you change your rim or tire.

What is Wheel Rotation?

When you go to a mechanic to correct your car’s wheel alignment and balancing, you should also ask him or her to rotate your wheels. In most cases, the front tyres of a car are subject to a higher pressure as compared to rear tyres. This might disturb their rotation. Steering and brakes also impact tyre rotation.

Periodic tyre rotation is very crucial for the long life and better performance of your car’s tyres. It can be done via two methods – the four-wheel rotation method and the five-wheel rotation method.

To Conclude

Now you know the importance of your car’s wheel alignment, balancing, and rotation. You must take your car frequently to a mechanic to check any such issues and take measures to correct them. The wheel alignment and balancing costs can range from ₹1,000 to ₹1,500.

If you are planning to buy one, you must get a four-wheeler insurance policy to stay protected against adversities. Remember, most insurance policies for cars do not cover wheel alignment and balancing costs. You may need to opt for an add-on for tyre protection. If you purchase a four-wheeler insurance policy from Tata AIG, you can opt for up to 13 different add-ons and have customised car insurance. The car insurance renewal online process with us is also very easy and hassle-free.

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