Tyre Alignment and Balancing


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I was thingking, till now that Wheel alignment and Wheel Balancing are totally related things. But i browsed and found that both are totally different things.[:)]

Now i found some details on symptoms (Putting it below).
Can somebody explain how its actually done and how to verify if the dealer has done these or not during servicing.

The symptoms of a car that is out of alignment are:
  • Uneven or rapid tire wear
  • Pulling or drifting away from a straight line
  • Wandering on a straight level road
  • Spokes of the steering wheel off to one side while driving on a straight and level road.
The symptoms of a wheel that is out of balance are:
  • Vibration in the steering wheel at certain highway speeds.
  • Vibration in the seat or floorboard at certain highway speeds.
  • Scalloped or cupped wear pattern on the tires.
 
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Worth a discussion.
Balancing a wheel means that the wheel is radially balanced, so that the wt of the wheel + tyre in each direction (radially) is the same.
The best way to lose balance in your tyre (other than hitting something!!) is to flat spot your tyres with some heavy braking (not possible in a ABS fitted car!!)

That is why, when balanced, some times some wts are added to the rim to have an even effect.
Tyre alignment is to ensure that the lay of the wheel with respect to the wheel, vehicle and steering axis in 3D space is the same as design intent. When in kerb condition, the wheels (front) should be such that they are leaning inward by a very slight angle, both in front view, and in top view. These values are as per design intent for ideal handling and road holding under different load conditions.
When you get your wheels aligned, these (castor, camber and rarely the kingpin angles) are set right, so that your vehicle travels straight, and the wheel contact patch is uniform while running.
Hit a kerb hard, or go into a ditch a bit too fast ... nice ways to lose alignment!!
 
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Aditya, great explanation dear. Some pictorial representation would be better. I will also try to find out.

Is there a way to verify if the dealer has done these or not during servicing.
 
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Usually if you do wheel alignment at outside places they will give you a complete report in a printed format saying what all corrections were made!
 
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Aditya, great explanation dear. Some pictorial representation would be better. I will also try to find out.

Is there a way to verify if the dealer has done these or not during servicing.
The earlier post was from memory, this one is from Google search, along with the desired images!! And, yesterday, I had forgotten to mention the Toe-in angle.

Cut and paste follows ...

Camber is the angle of the wheel, measured in degrees, when viewed from the front of the vehicle. If the top of the wheel is leaning out from the center of the car, then the camber is positive ,if it's leaning in, then the camber is negative. If the camber is out of adjustment, it will cause tire wear on one side of the tire's tread. If the camber is too far negative, for instance, then the tire will wear on the inside of the tread.

If the camber is different from side to side it can cause a pulling problem. The vehicle will pull to the side with the more positive camber. On many front-wheel-drive vehicles, camber is not adjustable. If the camber is out on these cars, it indicates that something is worn or bent, possibly from an accident and must be repaired or replaced.

When you turn the steering wheel, the front wheels respond by turning on a pivot attached to the suspension system. Caster is the angle of this steering pivot, measured in degrees, when viewed from the side of the vehicle. If the top of the pivot is leaning toward the rear of the car, then the caster is positive, if it is leaning toward the front, it is negative. If the caster is out of adjustment, it can cause problems in straight line tracking. If the caster is different from side to side, the vehicle will pull to the side with the less positive caster. If the caster is equal but too negative, the steering will be light and the vehicle will wander and be difficult to keep in a straight line. If the caster is equal but too positive, the steering will be heavy and the steering wheel may kick when you hit a bump. Caster has little affect on tire wear.

The toe measurement is the difference in the distance between the front of the tires and the back of the tires. Toe-in means that the fronts of the tires are closer to each other than the rears. Toe-out is just the opposite. An incorrect toe-in will cause rapid tire wear to both tires equally.


Will try and get something on wheel balancing soon.

But, responding to your query, Balancing may be easy to verify, since the wts added will look new. These are clamped to the wheel rim (on the outside) or, in some alloy wheels, pasted on the inside surface.

Alignment may be more difficult to ascertain, but if you had a problem of pulling or uneven tyre wear, and it is no longer there, that is one indication!!

I always get my alignment and balancing done, not at the dealership, but at an external tyre and wheel store.
 

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Thread Starter #6
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Excellent Aditya. Thanks.

BTW, what should be the duration (KMs) for getting balancing and alignmemtn done. Like as Punto's manual once in a year or 15K is the duration they have recommended.
 
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Great explanation Aditya! I also get it done at outside places. Most often the dealers just get some more extra money by saying that they have done the alignment. Not much reliable and effective at least at TATA A.S.S don know about the others.


Heys RSM i would also suggest you get it done at outside places. The most possible signs that your car needs an alignment to be done is the car just refuses to move in a straight line if you remove your hands from the steering wheel! The other reason is improper tyre wear and also pulling of the car to one side in certain highways speeds.


I faced this pulling problem in my Verna at speeds above 150+kmph but got it rectified after alignment!!
 
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Excellent Aditya. Thanks.

BTW, what should be the duration (KMs) for getting balancing and alignmemtn done. Like as Punto's manual once in a year or 15K is the duration they have recommended.
You are welcome!!

Regarding the duration, the likelihood of the wheel going out of balance is a bit higher than it going out of alignment. This can happen due to any flat-spotting (Hard braking) or if say a wheel weight falls off or something.
I would recommend doing it every time you rotate your tyres.
What I do is that I trundle up the car to the Wheel guy, ask him to balance the tyres, and while fitting it back, ask him to follow the rotation sequence. That happens at no extra charge or effort.
One thing to note, when getting the balancing done, esp. with clip on wts. ask the guy to remove all the current wts. and then only start the balancing. This is coz the likelihood of these old wts falling off is higher.

Wheel alignment, I would suggest every 10K, or as per manu recommendation, but for certain if you have hit a big pothole at a very high speed, or else have had some incident in which you suspect underbody damage. Also, after your vehicle has been towed ... a must!!
 
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Balance the wheel as soon as possible when there is tyre puncture and repair of same.

Align the wheels as per schedule. this way you save tyre and vibration free journey.
 
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ilango[speed thirst];22616 said:
Balance the wheel as soon as possible when there is tyre puncture and repair of same.

Align the wheels as per schedule. this way you save tyre and vibration free journey.
Great, this looks easy way to identify, when to do.[:)]
 
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Balance is need rarely.
if new tyre or rim , balance them and re balance some 25K or above , or if vibration in steering above certain speed. Only the steering will vibrate . nothing else.


Alignment is done for every 2500kms.
its like this here , if you get aligned the next 2500kms align is free and then next 2500 is payable.
so you check every 2500kms and pay every 5000kms

Also if bushes wear there may be align problem , so replace them and align.
So you can get maximum out of the tyre!


Alignment problem will occur if you hit pot-holes or humps at great speed.
sign of it are car being pulled in a way, steering not in a straight manner.

do check in flat road .
else in normal road the car tend to pull toward left. as road are laid in that way.

brake pulling will be different from align pulling.
 
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ilango[speed thirst];22627 said:
Balance is need rarely.
if new tyre or rim , balance them and re balance some 25K or above , or if vibration in steering above certain speed. Only the steering will vibrate . nothing else.


Alignment is done for every 2500kms.
its like this here , if you get aligned the next 2500kms align is free and then next 2500 is payable.
so you check every 2500kms and pay every 5000kms

Also if bushes wear there may be align problem , so replace them and align.
So you can get maximum out of the tyre!


Alignment problem will occur if you hit pot-holes or humps at great speed.
sign of it are car being pulled in a way, steering not in a straight manner.

do check in flat road .
else in normal road the car tend to pull toward left. as road are laid in that way.

brake pulling will be different from align pulling.
Isn't the interval for balancing a little excessive at 25K?
 
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No , there is nil balance required (after it is done once) if the car continuously travel in a smooth road , no bend or twist in rims , no tyre repair such as edge rotation , punture etc.
for tube type puncture , you need to remove the tyre and refit. so balance is required

In tubeless , though there is no removal of tyre from rim , the addition of sealant makes necessary to add some balance. though this can be negligible and balancing is not so immediate.
 
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Well, such an ideal situation will rarely be there, wont it?
There is always the chance of the wts falling off, uneven wear due to external reasons, flat spotting, and what not?
Would it not be better to stick to a more frequent balancing?
 
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Flat spot may occur due to hard braking , skidding. But that part is negligible. It show it character at very high speed such as 180+ like that.

Also balancing will not rectify problem due to flat spot.
On continuous running , the flat spots become ease.
20 to 25K running is enough for balancing.
 
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