Before showing you how to balance tires I first want to explain why you need to balance them in the first place.
The entire weight of your vehicle rests on your vehicle’s suspension and its tires. Therefore, it is natural for both these components to wear out quicker than any other on your vehicle. The wear and tear of the tires and suspension of your car can be made worse if your car’s tires are not properly aligned or balanced.
Most of us overlook the part where we have to balance our tires after any service to the suspension or after changing our car’s older tires for new ones.
Tire balancing is an act of utmost importance as it can save your car from future more problematic issues.
Balancing a tire is pretty easy if you have a tire balancing machine at home but not everyone is rich enough to afford one. No need to worry, as here in this article we will go through all the popular methods of tire balancing so the next time you need to balance a tire you can do it yourself.
How Does Balancing A Tire Work?
When a tire is balanced it means, that the tire is balancing the weight of the vehicle equally on the rim. You might have seen that the rubber of a tire protrudes a bit outside from the edge of the rim on both sides. Balancing a tire ensures that the protrusion is equal on both sides. If there is more rubber on one side and less on the other, the side with more rubber protrusion will wear out quicker than the side with less rubber. The uneven wear and tear will result in you spending money frequently for new tires. However, this unevenness can be solved using a tire balancing machine. The machine judges the tire and tells you exactly where the tire is leaning to, so you can diminish the bias with the help of center caps or wheel weights. The whole process is quite tedious but if done right it can save you a fortune.
Different Types of Tire Balancing
If you go to a mechanic to get your car’s tires balanced, they will simply use a balancing machine to get the job done. This is because a machine takes less time and is more efficient as well as accurate. However, even with machines, there are different ways to go about this job.
This process is also sometimes called bubble balancing. Static balancing requires precision as well as patience. The process is performed using a cheap machine that measures the bubble level of your tire when it is at rest. Accurate measurements have to be made and outer as well as inner wheel weights have to be set accordingly to ensure perfect balance. A slight miscalculation can result in an imbalance. Static balancing requires you to remove the wheel from your vehicle.
Dynamic balancing or spin balancing is a process that can be performed on your vehicle while the tire is on the vehicle or off it. The wheel is put on a dedicated machine and the wheel’s dimensions are set. Once the machine has all the necessary information, it starts to apply weight on all the areas of the rim that are off balance.
There are various kinds of wheel weights in use today with the most popular ones being ‘adhesive backed weights’ and ‘clip-on lead weights. Dynamic balancing can also be achieved by shaving off a part of the rubber on your tire but this method is way more expensive and it can prove to be detrimental to the overall tread pattern of the tire.
This option is advisable for truck drivers or people who drive their cars frequently on long distances. Tires can become imbalanced very easily on long routes as wheel weights are unreliable. In such cases, you can use dry or liquid powder weights on the inside of the rim and external weighted balancing rings on the outside. These weights stay in place for a long time and can save you from frequently balancing your tires.
How to Balance Tires
- First off, you need to ascertain if your car has proper rims i.e. there should be no damage to them. If there is you would probably have to get new rims for the tires to balance perfectly.
- Once you are done checking the integrity of your car’s rim, you need to remove any previous wheel weights and center caps. It is important that the tire is completely unadulterated.
- Place the tire on the balancing machine and check to see if it is tightly held in place.
- Enter the dimensions of your wheel on the machine. This is an important part of the process as without it the balancing machine will not be able to make a proper judgment.
- Make sure your tire has the proper amount of air inside. Check your car’s user manual to learn more.
- Start the machine and let it do its work. After the assessment, the machine will tell you where to put wheel weights.
- Put the wheel weights according to the information provided and retest the tire. If you did not put wheel weights perfectly the first time, the machine will ask you to do the process again until it is perfect.
- ake the wheel off from the machine and place it back on your car. You are good to go.
How Often Do You Need to Balance Tires?
I recommend balancing tires every time you perform tire rotation, when you install new tires on your rims, when wheel weights come off or if you feel vibration while driving. In other words, you need to balance your tires every 3 months or more depending on the state of your tire. The more you drive, the more there are chances of your wheel weights coming off or your tires deteriorating.
Tire balancing might sound like a difficult process but it is certainly not. Once you get the hold of it, you will be balancing tires like a pro.