What is Wheel Alignment vs. Tire Rotation?

By Naylor's Auto Repair on Thu, 10/26/2023 - 11:23

It’s not uncommon for drivers, no matter how long they’ve been on the road, to not definitively know the difference between wheel alignment and tire rotation. No worries if you can relate, at Naylor's Auto Repair, we believe in empowering our clients through education.

If you’re a new driver, trying to increase your overall auto tech knowledge, or are just curious, this blog is for you. We are going to fully cover the differences between wheel alignment and tire rotation and other questions you might have before having your vehicle serviced at Naylor’s.

What’s The Difference Between a Wheel Alignment and Tire Rotation?

What is a Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment, often simply referred to as "alignment," involves adjusting the angles of your vehicle's wheels to the manufacturer's specifications. The primary goal is to ensure that your car's wheels are parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. Proper alignment ensures:

  • Optimal tire lifespan
  • Improved gas mileage
  • Safer driving conditions
  • Reduced wear and tear on suspension components

What is Tire Rotation?

Tire rotation is the process of moving tires from one position on the vehicle to another. Typically, this means swapping the front and rear tires. The primary reasons for rotating tires are:

  • Ensuring even tire wear
  • Extending the lifespan of the tires
  • Maintaining balanced handling and traction
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Does a Tire Rotation Include a Wheel Alignment?

It certainly can. In fact, combining these services can be beneficial. While they address different aspects of your vehicle's performance, both are essential for extending the life of your tires and ensuring a smoother, safer drive. At Naylor's Auto Repair, we often recommend clients consider both services together, especially if they haven't been done in a while. They can easily be completed during other routine maintenance or repair services to save you the hassle of additional appointments.

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How Do I Know When I Need an Alignment or Rotation?

It's advisable to check your vehicle's manual for manufacturer recommendations. However, general guidelines suggest:

Wheel Alignment: At least every 1-3 years or after any significant impact or sudden jarring.

Tire Rotation: Every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or as recommended in your vehicle's manual.

Additionally, if you notice uneven tire wear, your vehicle pulling to one side, or a steering wheel that's off-center when driving straight, it might be time for an alignment check.

Common Causes for Misalignment

Several factors can throw your wheels out of alignment, including:

  • Hitting a pothole
  • Bumping into a curb
  • Normal wear and tear over time
  • Accidents, no matter how minor

Why Choose Naylor’s Auto Repair?

At Naylor’s Auto Repair, we pride ourselves on delivering top-notch services with a personal touch. Our team is equipped with the expertise and equipment to ensure your vehicle is in the best possible condition. Plus, with all our technicians being well-versed in wheel alignment and tire rotation, you can be assured of quality service every time.

For those in Boise seeking preventive car maintenance or suspecting alignment issues, Naylor’s Auto Repair is here for you. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call, and we’ll get your car back on the road, better than ever.