One small thing that can cause early tire and suspension wear is an out-of-balance tire. Though the tire balancing procedure may seem minor, it is a critical procedure. If tires don’t have regular balancing, then your car’s handling and even safety may worsen. Discover more about tire balancing, what it does, and signs you need to have your tires re-balanced.
Why Do Tires Need Balancing?
Tires and wheels do not come from the manufacturer in perfect condition and ready to go. Though they may seem uniform to the eye, tires and wheels often have variations in weight throughout their structure. Normal wear and tear can also change your wheel and tire’s balance. When your wheels are not balanced, your tires will not spin smoothly. This affects the way your vehicle handles.
How Is Balancing Done?
Tires are balanced after they are mounted on the wheel. Modern tire shops use a computerized spin balancing machine. The tire goes on the machine and spins at highway speeds. The computer reads where the tire is unbalanced and indicates where weights should be placed on the wheel. The technician places thin metal pieces on the rim to counterbalance heavy spots. Then, the technician spins the wheel again to ensure it has proper0 balance.
What Are the Signs of Out-of-Balance Tires?
Only a small amount of imbalance is enough to disrupt how your car feels and handles. Discover some of the signs that you need to balance your tires.
The sudden appearance of vibrations is one sign that your tires don’t have correct balance. These vibrations are noticeable in your steering wheel when you reach moderate speeds. The vibrations get worse as you drive faster, then smooth out after you reach highway speed.
Unusual Tread Wear
A poorly balanced tire causes unusual, patchy flat areas in a tire’s tread after time. These wear patches often have no consistency in size or shape. If you ignore the problem for too long, then your tires could end up with lost treads. Uneven wear also affects the strength and integrity of the sidewalls after a while and could result in a blowout.
Worn Suspension Components
The vibration from unbalanced tires reverberates through the rest of the wheel and suspension system. This eventually leads to early wear and damage to wheel bearings and shocks. It also affects your vehicle’s responsiveness and handling. Over time, you may notice more play (or looseness) in your steering or strange noises from the bearings.
Changes in Gas Mileage
Vibrations and unusually worn tires can cause your gas mileage to diminish, especially as your speed increases. However, check your tires for underinflation as well, as this is also a common cause of increased fuel consumption.
When Should You Balance Your Tires?
New tires are always balanced when they first go on the rims. When you come in for your regular tire rotation, the mechanic often rebalances them during the process. Your wheels should also receive rebalancing whenever you get suspension work.
Another time to check your tire’s balance is if you suspect you have knocked off a weight, such as if you have hit a pothole or a curb. Check your tires and wheels if you notice any sudden and unusual noise and vibrations.
When your tires are unbalanced, the effect on your car’s handling and tire wear is noticeable. Make sure you balance your tires regularly to keep them in good shape for as long as possible. Evans Tire & Service Centers will balance your new tires but also rebalance your tires when necessary. If you need new tires, or you need other wheel and suspension service, then speak with our experts and stop in for service.