Wheel Alignment and Balancing
Wheel alignment refers to the way the tires line up with the body of the vehicle and with each other. If your vehicle pulls to one side or if the tread wear is uneven, alignment may be the problem.
Misalignment can be the result of a severe jolt to the tire (such as hitting a pothole) or it can be a process that develops over time. A knowledgeable mechanic can put your vehicle on a mechanics rack and measure the alignment.
Another factor that can affect your tire’s wear and performance is balance. This is the even distribution of weight around the tires circumference. A tire and wheel system that is out of balance can wobble slightly or wear with a “cupping” pattern. A tire dealer will normally balance your tires when they are purchased by attaching small metal weights to the wheel.
If your vehicle vibrates through certain speeds (such as 55 to 60 miles per hour) you probably need to get your tires balanced. A regular service schedule should include tire rotation approximately once every other oil change. This is the shifting of the tires from one position to another. Rotation is generally done by a tire mechanic who understands the appropriate patters for different vehicle and tire types. If you choose to rotate your own tires, you are generally safe switching the front and rear tires on the same side of the vehicle.