Table of Contents
As long as you are driving, you can expect to have a loose or imbalanced tire anytime. The weight distribution around the vehicle and the wheel can change due to worn-out treads leading to a tire imbalance. Therefore, tire balancing is an important service that you should regularly take to avoid vehicle vibrations, loss of wheel grip and traction, and early damage to the suspensions. Having your tire balanced means the wheels will wear out evenly, and you get to enjoy a smooth drive.
Tires have different weights all around their circumference due to the presence of a wheel valve that can reduce the wheel's overall weight. You should perform a tire balance when you replace old tires with new ones and notice different signs of a tire imbalance.
How are tires balanced?
The use of tire balancing machines is a common way you perform a tire balance. It involves assembling the tire, pumping it with the required air pressure, and then putting it in a balancing shaft. The balance shaft machines keep the wheel in motion by spinning it for a few seconds, and then after that, the wheel stops. The device analyzes the quantity of air pressure present that you will add or reduce in grams or ounces and whether the weights are in the same level of balance.
Additionally, there are three other techniques that you can use to balance tires. They include;
Static balancing is performed primarily on wheels that are slightly bent or unbalanced. In this technique, you need to position the wheel assembly on an upright device that will support it. The device contains a single that will estimate the balance on the axis where the lighter part of the wheel will move up while the lower part will move down near the ground. When you identify this error, you will increase balance by placing a measured amount of weight, in grams or ounces, across the horizontal part of the wheel up to the flange until the level of compensation becomes equal.
This technique is more complex than static balancing. Dynamic balancing uses computerized balancers that measure the level of balance by spinning the tires on all three centers. In this technique, you will position a wheel assembly on a dynamic balancer that pins it at a velocity of about 15 to 65 mph. The balancing machine has a detector that will spot any inaccurate weight of the tire.
The machines will then give the amount of weight present and the specific place on the wheel where you should adjust the weight. To achieve a proper wheel-tire balance, you can increase the consequences in small amounts in the rims' inner and outer parts of the edges.
Bubble tire balancing techniques have the same principles as static balancing. The only difference is that a bubble wheel balancer uses an indicator that is filled with oil to alert you when wheel imbalances occur.
Steps of performing tire balancing
When you fit back the tires in a vehicle, it is necessary to perform wheel balancing. Wheel balancing can help extend the wheel's service and save you on the costs such as purchasing new tires. Depending on the technique you use, you can decide on whether to use tire balancers or not.
Steps to follow when using a balancer
The following are the steps you should follow if you are using a balancer. They include;
Before you start performing tire balancing, ensure that you have put on protective clothes such as rubber gloves, overalls, and safety goggles to avoid the risk of getting injuries.
Ensure that you clear any rock or dirt particles present in every section of the wheel by washing or dusting them out. It includes clearing mud or any other debris present on the inner side of the wheel.
Placing the wheel on the balancer
Ensure you employ the correct method of placing the wheel on the balancer to avoid any injuries. If the wheel assembly is weighty, you should seek assistance from other people. If you are operating a static balancer, you should wait for the tire to become still and stationary, whereas if you are running a dynamic balancer, you should rotate the wheel by spinning it. Additionally, there are other ways you can use when placing the wheel on a balancing machine. They include;
- Back cone method; in this method, you will center the wheel on a cone by using the outer side of the wheel.
- Front cone method; in this method, you will center the wheel on a cone using the outer side of the wheel.
- Pin-plate method; you will use a pin plate to center the wheel assembly by aligning and securing it on a balancer.
Marking points and positioning the weight
You need to mark different points where you plan to add weights to your tire In case of a tire imbalance. You can mark these points using chalk or a marker pen. After you have finished marking, put the weights in small amounts on the tire as you check if the tire is balancing.
In dynamic balancing, the tire should spin smoothly without any vibrations to achieve tire balance, while in static balancing, you should regulate the weights until you reach a perfect rule. After this process, you can put the wheel back into your vehicle, tighten the lugs and lower the car using a jack.
How to balance a tire without using a balancer
You can balance your tires even without the use of a balancer. However, this technique has a low accuracy because you need a machine to measure the weight and a tool such as a jack to untighten lugs when taking the wheel off. These are the ways you should follow;
Take out the wheel you think may be causing a tire imbalance and separate it from anything that may add weight to it. Clean all the mud or dirt present from every wheel section. Estimate the clock at noon position and place the weight there. Then, reverse your vehicle at a velocity that will make it vibrate.
Increase the velocity to around 5 mph after some time. If the vehicle is still vibrating, put the weight back to around 45degrees using the original position used (noon). After doing that, continue to increase the velocity to monitor if the vibration will increase. If the vibration of the vehicle increases, continue adding weight to the point and repeat the whole process until the tire is balanced.
Wrapping it Up
Tire balancing is a critical service that helps reduce future challenges related to the wheel and the vehicle. Taking your vehicle for a regular tire balancing will help reduce maintenance costs to issues such as uneven tire wear and early damage to the suspensions. Understanding the principles of tire balancing will help you identify the signs of a tire imbalance and develop a solution to fixing them earlier.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding