Wheel Balance & Alignment
What is Wheel Balancing?
Modern tyres and wheels are made to exacting standards but after fitting to the wheel, the assembly may need to be dynamically balanced. By 'balancing'
the tyre and wheel assembly, small variances in weight distribution can be evened out making for a more comfortable and safer ride.
Wheels with an imbalance problem may cause: -
• Discomfort to the driver
• Loss of contact between the tyre and the road
• Excessive uneven wear of tyres
• Increased wear of steering and suspension components, especially shock absorbers
• At worst, a reduction in the life of the whole vehicle
An imbalance becomes more obvious as speed increases, typically felt as a vibration through the steering wheel or vehicle body.
A wheel balance machine is used to detect the points of imbalance. Weights of appropriate sizes are then affixed to the rim to counteract the imbalance.
This should be done when new tyres are fitted and is recommended from time to time throughout the life of the tyre. Many experts recommend a rotation
and balance every 5,000km.What is Wheel Alignment
The front (and sometimes the rear) wheels on a vehicle need to be adjustable to allow for variation in vehicle control characteristics. This can only be done by a technician using a wheel alignment machine. There are various types of wheel alignments; the alignment you require depends on the make of vehicle you are driving.
Have you ever noticed your tyres (particularly the front) wearing on the edge but not across the tyre? Tyres showing this, or even feathered edges, may
indicate the wheel alignment needs adjusting. Most tyre services recommend a wheel alignment every 10,000km.
Correct wheel alignment will: -
• Extend the life of tyres by reducing premature wear
• Allow tyres to wear more evenly
• Improve the handling of the vehicle
• Optimise the steering response of your vehicleTips for safe traveling
Following are some practical ideas to enhance your driving experience - and make it safer!
• You can spare yourself a lot of anxiety by being prepared. A mobile phone is almost essential these days, whether to phone for help, report a problem or let someone know a change in your plans. A first aid kit is also essential and could be useful in the event of an accident. Keep a torch in the glove box
for night time emergencies. In the boot, a small tool kit can be handy. Your tyre pressure gauge should always be ready in the glove box. The vehicle
owner's manual is also important to have around; for example if you needed to check jacking points
• Let someone know where you're travelling, and when you expect to arrive. Allow plenty of time to travel - speed and frustration cause accidents
• Be careful where you park, and try to ensure the location is well lit at night
• Road rage is on the increase. Don't be tempted to express anger by tooting, making rude gestures, yelling out the window or flashing your high beam. As well as being immature, it's asking for trouble!
• 'Tailgating' is dangerous and unnecessary, so don't do it. If someone is tailgating you, don't hit the brakes - get out of their way and let them be a
nuisance somewhere else
• In wet weather slow down, drive according to the conditions. The level of wet road grip of a tyre is related to the speed of the vehicle, the condition of the road, and the level of tyre wear. It's better to arrive late and alive than not at all.
• Wearing a seatbelt is not just a legal requirement, it saves lives
• Unsecured items within the vehicle cabin can become lethal projectiles in the event of an accident. This includes family pets
• Children should always be in approved child restraints appropriate to their age and size
• Stop and check your vehicle if you notice any of the following while you are driving: -
- a warning light on the dashboard remaining on
- any unusual vibrations or noises
- a high temperature reading on the temperature gauge
- the vehicle wanders or steers to one side
- unusual vehicle handling when brakingJump Starting
Occasionally you may find yourself in the situation of having a flat battery and no power to start the engine. We recommend you call for help from your road service provider or a battery specialist.
Most modern vehicles with electronic management systems and electronic ignition must only be jump started with specially protected leads or major damage can be done to the electrical system. You should also consult the vehicle owner's handbook for the recommended procedure.
Below is an overview of the procedure in the event of an emergency.
• Check both vehicles have a battery with the same voltage
• Turn off all electrical loads (e.g. air conditioner, etc.)
• Check the vehicles aren't touching, and are in 'Park' or 'Neutral'
• On negative grounded systems, connect both ends of one jumper lead to the positive (+) terminal of both batteries
• Connect one end of the other jumper lead to the negative (-) terminal of the booster battery
• Connect the other end of that cable to the engine block or car frame of the vehicle to be started
• Ensure both jumper cables are clear of fans or other moving parts
• Start the engine of the booster car
• Attempt to start the engine of the vehicle with the flat battery
• If the vehicle does not start within 30 seconds, call an auto electrician
• If the vehicle does start, allow both cars to idle for 10 minutes to ensure the booster car can 'cycle' (reduces the chance of electrical damage)
• After starting, remove cables in reverse order, starting with the one connected to the engine block or car frame
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