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How Tires Become Unbalanced
As the name suggests, unbalanced tires is a situation where the tires in your vehicle are not on the same level as each other. Tires can get unbalanced if the weight isn’t uniformly distributed around the wheel, in any of the tires.
Once the tires become unbalanced, they will fail to deliver a smooth and comfortable ride, even when you are driving on well-paved roads. Instead, the ride will be bumpy or bouncy. So, how do tires become unbalanced? Here are some of the leading causes:
Improper Inflation Pressure
Every vehicle comes with instructions on how you should inflate all the tires. Hence, if one of the tires on the vehicle is underinflated or overinflated, it’s highly likely the vehicle will lose balanced.
In a situation where one of the tires is underinflated, then the vehicle will tilt towards that side. And if one of the tires is overinflated, then the vehicle will tilt to the other tires. Either way, the vehicle will lose balance.
Wheel and Axle Damage
With time, your vehicle may experience wheel or axle damage, which may be caused by various factors. And when this happens, the tire in the affected wheel will not be in line with the others. In such a situation, you may find it quite challenging to steer or handle that vehicle.
Alignment refers to the tweaking of a vehicle’s suspension system. It entails focusing on the vehicle’s tires and the angle at which they touch the road. If the alignment is not properly done, you may end up with unbalanced tires.
Irregularly Worn Tires
All the tires in your vehicle should wear out uniformly. However, if the tires are not worn out uniformly, you may end up with unbalanced tires.
Regular tire rotation can help to keep your tires wearing out uniformly, thus preventing issues of unbalanced tires.
Signs of Unbalanced Tires
So, why do you tell if your vehicle has unbalanced tires? Well, here are the most common symptoms of unbalanced tires. If your vehicle is exhibiting any of the below symptoms, it’s highly likely the tires are unbalanced.
Vibrations in the Steering Wheel
A slight imbalance in your vehicle’s wheels is enough to cause vibrations in the steering wheel. And if you fail to correct the imbalance as soon as possible, the vibrations will become worse. In fact, you will even start to feel those vibrations not only in the steering wheel but also in your entire cabin.
However, it’s important to note that other issues like damaged or worn-out tires can also cause vibrations in the steering wheel. So, make sure the issue is diagnosed and corrected before it escalates.
Vehicle Handling and Steering Issues
Unbalanced tires can also make handling and steering difficult. For instance, they will cause delayed steering responsiveness. Furthermore, you may find it hard to steer your vehicle smoothly in any direction. Consequently, you may end up in a crash or cause an accident, if your vehicle has steering and handling issues.
Uniform Tire Wear
Tires are designed to wear uniformly. But at times, you may notice that some areas of the tires are wearing out faster than the rest. For instance, you may notice that the edges of the tire are wearing out faster than the inner section.
In such a case, there’s a high chance that the tire with uneven wear is out of symmetry with the rest. And if these tires continue to wear out uniformly, you may end up with a flat or even a crash. Again, tire rotation can help to alleviate such an issue. But either way, it’s important to take your vehicle for a diagnosis to determine whether there are tire balance issues.
Poor Fuel Economy
If you have been driving for a while, then you already have an estimated mileage your vehicle covers after fueling a certain amount. But after a while, you may start noticing that the vehicle is covering a shorter distance than before, after fueling the same amount. And the issue may be due to unbalanced tires.
Unbalanced tires will more your engine under more strain. As a result, it will be forced to work harder, leading to more fuel consumption. Hence, if your vehicle has suddenly started consuming more fuel than it used to, then you should take your vehicle for a check, to rule out unbalanced tires.
Why You Shouldn’t Drive with Unbalanced Tires
Driving with unbalanced tires may not be necessarily risky or something that you should fix right away. But, if the issue goes unchecked for a longer period, it may lead to severe issues.
Wrapping It Up
Unbalanced tires will result in an unpleasant driving experience. Also, you will end up spending more money on fuel than you should, since they usually cause lead to a bad fuel economy. So, if your vehicle is exhibiting any of the above symptoms, you should take it for diagnosing right away. If you fail to do so, you may end up replacing more than just your vehicle’s tires.
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