Every time a wheel is first mounted onto the rim
with a new tire, it has to be balanced. The goal is to make sure the
weight is even around the wheel.
Wheel balance is checked on a wheel balancing machine that can sense
as little as 1/4 ounce difference in weight around the wheel. Why
worry about 1/4 ounce on a wheel that weighs many pounds? That tiny
amount of weight is traveling very fast around the axle: hundreds of
times a minute. It creates enough momentum to cause serious
vibration. And when you multiply by 4 wheels, the wobble really adds
up. Unbalanced tires put uneven pressure on the treads. Tires get
too hot and wear unevenly. Tire imbalance can also strain the wheel
bearings and suspension system.
balance the tires, the technician places tiny offsetting weights at
specific points around the wheel.
Not "once and done"
The minute you pull away from the service station with your newly
balanced tires, they begin getting out of balance again. Every bump
and corner affects balance; so does tire wear. Over time, your tires
get out of balance again. That's why it's important to have tires
What are the warning signs that my tires aren't balanced?
You're most likely to notice uneven wear on the tires. Many drivers
also notice vibration over 40 mph, especially if the imbalanced
tires are on the front.
How often should my tires be balanced?
During typical use, it's a good idea to have your tires rotated and
balanced every 4,000 to 6,000 miles. Have them balanced any time a
tire is replaced or patched.
Often confused with wheel alignment, a properly balanced
wheel is a beautiful, perfectly tuned wheel-tire combination. This is
accomplished by placing measured lead weights on the opposite side of the
"heavy spot"—the noticeable tread wear on your unbalanced tire.
How do I know if I need my wheels balanced?
Is your vehicle vibrating at certain speeds, say, between 50 and 70 mph?
If so, chances are your wheel is out of balance. Come in for prompt, professional
service—people are very satisfied with the difference such a simple
and inexpensive procedure makes. Look for these signs:
Scalloped, erratic wear pattern on tires.
Vibration in steering wheel, seat, or floorboard at certain speeds.