The Difference Between a Tire Rotation and Wheel Alignment

January 27, 2012

There is often confusion about the difference between tire rotation and wheel alignment. Without the proper understanding, it could cause severe damage to your vehicle. The purpose of this article will inform you of the difference.

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is simply moving the wheels and tires on a car from one place to another. This is required to get even use of the tires. Cars are designed to have different weight on the front and back. Front wheel drives pulls from the front and rear wheel drives pulls from the back. In order to balance this out, the back wheels are moved to the front and the front wheel are moved to the back. This process ensures even wear on your tires and guarantees you more for your money.

Wheel Alignment

Wheel alignment is referring to how the wheels line up with the steering wheel. When a car is not pulling in a straight line and is moving to the left or the right it needs a wheel alignment. If you continue to drive a vehicle in this condition, it will cause damage to your car and require you to get a wheel replacement.


The biggest difference between the two is a tire rotation has to be done automatically after a certain amount of time. This time depends on the car and tire manufacture. A wheel alignment is only necessary when your vehicle shows the warning signs of being out of line. Another difference is the lack of rotating the tires will not cause the same damage as not getting a proper wheel alignment.

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