How to Balance Car Tires

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How to balance car tires

Balancing your car tires when you get them aligned is common advice, but few people know what wheel balancing is. Basically, your tires and wheels have tiny pieces of metal on them. These pieces of metal are in specific places to make sure that the tire wear is even and ensure even distribution of weight. When these pieces of metal move or are lost, there will be weight imbalances across the tire.

Why Balance Car Tires?

Tool Used to Balance WheelsBalancing your tires is one of many tricks to lengthen the lifespan of your tires. Unbalanced tires can lead to uneven tread wear and can create unsafe driving conditions for your vehicle.  Whether it’s car tires, truck tires, or mini-van Harris Tire will inspect your tires and determine whether or not they need to be rotated and balanced.

Letting Harris Tire balance your tires can:

  • Increase vehicle safety
  • Ensure a more comfortable ride
  • Take pressure off of your steering
  • Reduce the wear and tear on your tires

Tire Balancing Will Correct Vibrations

A common car problem is vibration in the car, particularly at high speeds. These vibrations tend to be caused by one of four issues; tire imbalance, a bad alignment, bent wheels or rims, or bad tie rod ends.

The amount of weight difference that can cause excessive vibrations in your steering wheel can be extremely small. Most tire balancing machines today are set to detect and correct vibration caused by as little as a 1/4 ounce difference.

For many people those vibrations are a real pain, and they’re fixed quickly. However, even if those vibrations aren’t a huge nuisance to you immediately they can cause damage to your tire and wheel assemblies that will progressively get worse.  Multiply those little vibrations over hundreds and hundreds of miles and you can start to see why that might become a problem.

How to Balance Tires

Balancing tires is an essential process that ensures smooth and even tire rotation, preventing vibrations and uneven wear. Here’s a general guide on how to balance tires:

  1. Preparation: You’ll need a few tools for this task, including a jack, jack stands, a lug wrench, a bubble balancer or electronic wheel balancer, and wheel weights. Make sure you have the appropriate equipment and a safe workspace.
  2. Lift the vehicle: Using a jack, lift the vehicle off the ground and secure it with jack stands. Ensure that the car is stable and won’t shift during the balancing process.
  3. Remove the wheels: Use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts on the wheel. Once loose, lift the wheel off the hub and set it aside. Repeat this step for each wheel that needs balancing.
  4. Locate the heavy spot: With the wheel removed, you need to find the heavy spot. This can be done with a bubble balancer or an electronic wheel balancer. Follow the instructions provided with your chosen balancer to determine the heavy side of the wheel.
  5. Apply wheel weights: Once you’ve identified the heavy spot, attach the appropriate wheel weights to the opposite side of the wheel. Wheel weights are designed to counterbalance the weight distribution and bring the wheel into balance. There are different types of wheel weights, including clip-on and adhesive weights. Choose the correct type and size for your specific wheel.
  6. Reinstall the wheel: Carefully place the balanced wheel back onto the hub and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the jack. Once the car is on the ground, use a torque wrench to tighten the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  7. Repeat for other wheels: Repeat the above steps for each wheel that needs balancing. It’s recommended to balance all four wheels for optimal performance.
  8. Test the balance: Take the vehicle for a test drive to ensure that the balancing has been successful. Pay attention to any vibrations or shaking. If you still experience issues, it may indicate other problems with the tires or suspension that should be inspected by a professional.

It’s important to note that while this guide provides a general overview, the specific steps and techniques may vary depending on the equipment you have and your level of experience. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable performing tire balancing yourself, it’s best to seek the assistance of a professional tire service provider.

How Often Should You get your Tires Balanced?

People often notice unbalanced tires when they are on the front wheels because the vibrations are transferred through the steering wheel  to the driver’s hands. These same vibrations can be in the rear as well but aren’t as noticeable.  It is recommended you balance every new tire once it is installed, front or back.

Most often, a balance is done when you get a wheel alignment, since many of the symptoms are the same. Between proper balance and alignment, most serious vibration issues can be fixed.

How often should tire balancing be checked?

Your tires are going to wear, and unless you’re driving on a flat road in a straight line at all times, your tire tread is likely to wear unevenly. Gradual wear that’s uneven will eventually cause unbalanced tires and vibrations.

It’s a good idea to have our tires balanced each time you get a tire rotation, which tends to be between 4,000 and 6,000 miles.  If you happen to go in for tire service or tire repair in-between you can take advantage and have your tires balanced then as well.  Harris Tire includes a complementary tire balancing whenever you get your tires serviced or repaired.

Tire balancing will improve safety and give you a smooth ride. Make sure to always balance newly installed tires and freshly rotated ones. If you’re noticing a lot of vibrations, make sure you have the tires checked for balancing.

Tire balancing will not only keep your vehicle safe but will improve the comfort with which you drive.  Have the balance of your tires checked regularly; before you start seeing issues with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you balance used tires?

Yes, you can balance used tires using a wheel balancer. Harris Tire has the ability to balance your used tires to prevent premature wearing of tires.

Will unbalanced tires cause vibration?

Unbalanced tires cause shaking along with uneven tire wear—however, this vehicle problem is set apart by the fact that it correlates with certain speeds. If you experience severe vibration at one speed but not another, these may be signs that your tires are out of balance.

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