You’re looking to travel the open road again and make some new memories. But you aren’t sure if your car is up for the task. It’s been pulling to one side on straight, level roads, and your steering wheel is vibrating when you hit 50 mph. It’s obvious something isn’t right with your car, but what could the problem be? A trained auto mechanic can tell you right away that your car most likely needs a wheel alignment and balancing. But what is the difference? Wheel balancing is a service that is performed more often than a wheel alignment. When a car’s wheel gets off-balance and one part of the wheel is heavier than another part–even if that difference is only one ounce–it will cause vibrating. Typically wheels in the front cause vibrations in the steering wheel and wheels in the back will cause vibrations in the seat. Unbalanced wheels will cause the tires to wear unevenly, eventually putting strain on wheel bearings and the suspension system. Check wheel balancing at least every 6 months or every 5,000 miles. Wheel alignment is the more expensive of the two options. Wheels that are out of alignment can cause uneven tire wear, poor fuel economy, pulling to one side, poor cornering and handling, and a rough ride. A mechanic will measure and check for any adjustments needing to be made to the caster, toe, and camber which are the primary suspension angles. The general rule of thumb is to check wheel alignment every 10,000 miles. Cars driven on roads that are uneven or overrun with potholes, should have their alignment checked every 5000-7500 miles. Come into John’s Auto Care for your next wheel balancing and alignment. We can promise you that our ASE-certified auto mechanics will make sure your car is running smoothly for that next road trip!