Whenever you take your car in for a tyre and wheel alignment, the technician will check various angles and distances, so the wheels will always be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. They'll also check a crucial interaction between the wheel and the tyre known as its balance, but what does this involve and why is it so important?
The Need for Adjustments
Vehicle tyres come in all sizes based on diameter and circumference and are designed for different vehicles and applications. These tyres can also fit a wide variety of wheels and are not designed for simply one particular product. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the tyre will fit perfectly onto a wheel in terms of its weight distribution. It's quite often the case that the tyre will be unbalanced when it is first introduced to the new wheel, and the technician will need to make certain adjustments at the outset. As these adjustments can "slip" during normal wear and tear and everyday driving, your technician should also check these balance levels during an alignment service visit.
Why Balancing Is Important
If a tyre is not correctly balanced, this can lead to excessive vibration and premature degradation. It may also affect the steering and suspension components causing damage elsewhere and leading to poor fuel consumption figures.
How Balancing Works
To balance a tyre and wheel combination, it will need to be removed from the vehicle and attached to a specific machine. It will then be rotated at high speed on a spindle while sensors look for any signs of imbalance. The machine will then identify specific areas of the tyre to help rectify this problem, and the technician will attach small self-adhesive weights at these points. These may be added to the inner and the outer sides of the wheel rim and, once carefully secured in place, will overcome the potential problem.
These weights would have been made from lead at one time, but that is not the case now. These tiny adjusting devices are typically crafted from light steel or zinc today.
Making Regular Adjustments
As you pursue safe and trouble-free motoring, you must ensure that your wheels are correctly aligned from time to time. The technician will also check to see if those adhesive weights are still in place or make further balancing adjustments as needed. If it's been some time since you visited this expert, make an appointment soon.
For more information on tyre alignment, contact a professional near you.