Wheel balancing also known as balancing your tires, is the process of distributing the mass of the tire and the wheel, when mounting on the car's axle. This process can evenly distribute the weight around the axle.
The tire wheel assembly is rarely exactly the same weight all around. Tires may also have slight weight imbalances from either the construction or compounds in the tire or your rims may have a slight imbalance or imperfection. During the mounting process the tire professional tries to offset these differences and then fine tunes the imbalancewith wheel weights in the balancing process.
A tiny imbalance in weight may easily become a very noticeable imbalance at certain speeds. This usually translates into a vibration in the car and if unaddressed may led irregular tread wear.
When do tires need to be balanced:
Tire/ Wheel balancing first takes place when you replace the tires on your vehicle. Since tires wear depends on driving practices, road conditions and vehicle suspension condition, this becomes noticeable after the first 1,500-3,000 kilometers of use. Tires may go out of balanceafter losing a wheel weight or from a common driving impact like hitting a curb or running over a pothole. A good practice would be to have your wheels balance checked during regular maintenance schedule.
The tires and wheel assembly goes onto the balancer's spindle through the center bore, and a metal cone is inserted to ensure the wheel is perfectly centered. The machine spins the assembly at very high speed to determine the heaviest point, and signals the operator where and how many weights to place on the opposite side to compensate.
The advantages of tire balancing:
- Smoother driving experience
- Improved fuel efficiency
- More even tire wear
- Extended life of tires and drive train parts
Balancing is a very important part of your vehicles maintenance. As mentioned it can vastly improve comfort and extend the life of your tires so you can save money. However there are many other factors that may cause vibrations such as front end damage or wear, a bent rim or even road hazard issue with the tire itself. The key to reducing long term damage is to have your tire assembly checked before the irregular wear sets in. There is a lot to be said about preventative maintenance.