There are a number of issues related to wheel maintenance, whether your Audi significantly veers off the road when you let go of the steering wheel or your car vibrates when reaching highway speeds. A majority of these issues can be solved by simply taking your Audi in for a service and having the wheels and tires aligned and balanced. It’s important to understand that there is a difference between the two.
Wheel Alignment vs. Balancing
You’re probably wondering about the processes of alignment and balancing. A wheel alignment involves checking your Audi’s tires and seeing if they run perpendicular to the road as well as parallel to each other. If they are not properly aligned, as the name suggests, we adjust the camber, toe, and caster to remediate the angle issues. Rest assured, Audi has unique tire alignment specifications that our certified technicians take into consideration with each inspection.
A wheel balancing involves removing the wheel from your Audi and placing it on a balancing machine. The machine tests the wheel by spinning it and identifying at which points the weight distribution is unbalanced. After our technician identifies these locations on the wheel, they will place a counterweight on or opposite of the location so the wheel is properly balanced.
The Relationship Between Tires and Wheels
Misaligned wheels have a considerable amount of problems they can cause. If your Audi veers off the road when you let go of the steering wheel, this is a good indication of wheel misalignment. It doesn’t stop there, though. Uneven or excessive tread wear, poor steering control, and unsteady breaking are all problems caused by misaligned wheels and unbalanced tires.
Wheel misalignment can be caused by sudden harsh impacts on your tires. Hitting a pothole, a curb, or experiencing a full on collision can affect your Audi’s suspension and steering. The problem is less related to the wheel itself and more with the internal structure of your car. Still, misalignment can affect the tires directly, resulting in irregular tread wear. Check your Audi’s tires for severely uneven tread wear patterns or even a “saw-tooth” like wear pattern, in which one side of the tread is smooth and the other is jagged. Highly pronounced patterns like these require urgent attention.
If you notice any of these issues, it’s best to take your car into our shop where experienced technicians know how to solve the problem. Leaving this type of problem unattended can have serious implications on your tire health. Otherwise, bring your Audi in for a tire alignment service every 10,000 miles, or at the least, once a year. Don’t let your Audi’s tires go to waste.
When Your Audi’s Wheels Are Unbalanced
When your tires are unbalanced, you’ll notice it after hitting speeds above 50 and below 70 MPH. Your seat, steering wheel, or entire car will shake because the wheels are distributing weight unevenly, causing this subtle (or unsettling) vibration of your car. This happens because the tread on your tires wear away with each and every mile you drive down the road, especially on rough or bumpy ones, and causes that unnerving vibration.
You also may notice that the wear pattern on your treads are “scalloped” or “cupped.” This happens when your tires are over inflated or under inflated, respectively. If your treads are deeper around the edges than in the center, your tire is over inflated, and that’s what’s causing the imbalance. If the treads are deeper in the center than around the edges, your tires are under inflated, which is equally as bad for your tire and its lifespan.
Normally, you would only need a wheel balancing service on your Audi every 5,000 to 6,000 miles, but don’t ignore the signs if they appear before then. Bring your Audi into our shop for a wheel balancing service after noticing the symptoms if you want to prolong their lifespan.
Daniel’s European is Here to Help
If you suspect your Audi needs an alignment or balancing service, bring it into Daniel’s European for an inspection. We serve residents located in La Habra, La Habra Heights, Hacienda Heights, Brea, Rowland Heights. Our experienced technicians are here to repair and service your exact make and model. Call and schedule a service today or follow the links on our website for more information.
* Audi S8 Car image credit goes to: Roman Stasiuk.