Understanding Land Rover Wheel Alignment and Wheel Balancing: Why it Matters

If you’ve read our recent blog, you may have seen us reference wheel balance and wheel alignment being a cause of a shaking Land Rover steering wheel. We explained how these faults can cause issues with your suspension and cause variable wear to your tyres, which if untreated, could develop from causing a shaking steering wheel to causing something much worse.

Wheel alignment and balancing are vital to ensuring the continual good performance of your Land Rover. Without it, you could be causing unnecessary wear and damage to your vehicle that not only costs huge amounts to fix but could also lead to accidents.

In this edition of our blog, we look at both Land Rover wheel alignment and balancing and illustrate why visiting a Land Rover service specialist like RCV is essential if you want your  Land Rover to remain in its best, and safest condition.

What is wheel balancing?

You may have heard a mechanic or service centre agent recommending a wheel balance to you in the past, but not been fully aware of what it involves. Wheel balancing is where your wheels are checked for any imbalances between the tyre and wheel and the vehicle itself.

This is done by adding small weights to the rim to ensure the weight is the same at all points.

The engineer will assess whether there is a weight imbalance, and if they identify that one side of the vehicle isn’t balanced with the other, they will add the weights to even out the distribution of the vehicle weight.

This is different to wheel alignment which it is sometimes confused with.

What is wheel alignment?

Wheel alignment is simply making sure the wheels of your Land Rover are pointing at the angle they are meant to. This is done by adjusting the suspension rather than the actual wheels or tyres themselves. When alignment is correct, the vehicle gives a smoother, safer drive and reduces the stress on the many working parts that help your Land Rover function as it should. When wheels aren’t aligned correctly, you can struggle with a shaking steering wheel, excessive tyre wear or the vehicle veering to one side.

Why do I need my wheels balanced?

Without wheel balancing, you could find that your Land Rover doesn’t offer the smooth drive you anticipated it would deliver. With wheels unbalanced, you’ll feel the shaking and vibrating of the steering wheel as you pick up speed and if motorway driving is involved, that shaking could last the entire duration of your time on that stretch of road! Furthermore, with weight being more prominent from one side to the other, you could end up causing damage to the tyres, the wheels, the suspension and more which then leads to accidents.

Opting for the services of a Land Rover specialist will allow you to benefit from their careful assessment of even the smallest changes in weight balance to each wheel. With the imbalance spotted and the exact positioning of where the weight needs to be placed noted, the engineer can get your Land Rover back to its best quite easily.

What causes my wheels to become misaligned?

As we mentioned earlier, wheel alignment all depends on the suspension and if your suspension is in poor condition or endures sudden jolts and jarring, your wheels can easily become misaligned. Commonly, hitting potholes or speed bumps can lead to wheels being misaligned as can having collisions with other vehicles. Perhaps often not considered is even the small bumps against and over kerbs. You’ll see no visible signs of damage from this, but it doesn’t mean your Land Rover hasn’t taken a damaging blow to its wheel alignment.

Then of course is general wear and tear. If your Land Rover hasn’t been serviced for some time the parts may no longer be at their best. Worn suspension springs and other components can lead to wheel misalignment as they fail to work as they should.

How will I know my Land Rover wheels are misaligned?

If you’ve taken a severe bump, had an accident or the vehicle just doesn’t feel right, you should get it checked over in the first instance. Often, there may not be a severe problem but tackling it early can save you from excessive repair costs in the future. Thankfully, there are a few key signs that can alert you to the problem before it develops into something much bigger.

  • Your Land Rover drifts to the left or right. As you apply the brakes, you may notice your Land Rover pulls to the left or right without you turning the steering wheel. This is a sign your wheels may be misaligned.
  • The steering wheel doesn’t return to its original position. If you have completed a turn and your wheel doesn’t return to its original position easily, your wheels may not be in their correct alignment.
  • Tyre wear appears significantly uneven. If you see that the wear on your tyres is significantly different, there is every chance your wheels are no longer aligned as they should be. In some circumstances, the wear may not be noticeable until you run your hand over the tyre itself and can feel a difference in the rubber.
  • The steering wheel is vibrating. We’ve mentioned this already, but a vibrating steering wheel indicates all is not right with wheels, tyres and suspension.

How often should wheel alignment or balancing take place?

It would be suggested that a yearly check is sufficient to ensure your wheels are aligned and balanced correctly but if you spot any of the symptoms listed above, a visit to your Land Rover service centre would be advised. If you don’t notice anything unusual with your vehicle but have had a severe impact with a pothole, or any form of accident or just sense your vehicle feels different, it may be best to have a professional assess it for you before continuing to drive.

What happens when your wheels get aligned?

When you visit a service centre to have the wheels of your Land Rover aligned, an expert technician will carefully assess your vehicle. Many service centres offer a two-wheel alignment that focuses on just the two front wheels, at RCV, we offer a four-wheel alignment that delivers a much more precise wheel alignment. This way of aligning your Land Rover wheels means we can set the steering wheel perfectly straight and give you the best level of performance you expect from your Land Rover. Using the manufacturer’s own diagnostics, we can make sure your Land Rover is set up as it’s meant to be, so you get the best from it. This will mean carefully altering components until they are how they need to be for your wheels to be in perfect alignment.

If your Land Rover hasn’t been serviced for some time, or you feel there may be a problem with the wheels or tyres, contact our specialist team at our Land Rover service centre. Our Land Rover servicing offers you a fully comprehensive service of your vehicle that is not only affordable but also friendly, efficient and reliable. Our team has more than 40 years of Land Rover experience and is happy to help you get the best from your vehicle. With prices up to 40% lower than main dealers, you can make a saving today!