Tire Balancing

Tire Balancing in Germantown, MD

Tire Balancing is a very important process for the maintenance of any sort of vehicle, large of small. A vehicle should have its tires balanced whenever a wheel is first mounted with a new tire, and then every 4,000 miles you run on them.

While many drivers overlook their tires’ balancing, unbalanced tires can be cause all sorts of problems: They put uneven pressure on the treads, which can strain the wheel bearings and the car’s suspension system. A common symptom of unbalanced tires is an unusual vibration at the steering wheel, seat or floorboard at highway speeds – about 40 MPH or more.

Driving a vehicle with uneven tires also tends to cause uneven tire wear. When a driver notices scalloped or cupped wear patterns in their tires, they likely need or needed to have them balanced.

While taking good care of your vehicle helps delaying tire unbalance, it’s impossible to prevent it altogether. Every bump and corner you take has a tiny effect on the balance, as well as tire wear, and there’s no way around them. If you’re driving your vehicle, its tires are going to get unbalanced eventually.

Many drivers assume they would notice if their tires were unbalanced, as if it was a clearly visible issue. This is seldom the case, and wheel balancing machines are capable of detecting a difference of as little to a quarter of an ounce around the wheel. While it’s obviously tiny enough to be invisible, this small difference travels hundreds of times per minute, which creates a considerable amount of momentum throughout the vehicle. If the four wheels are unbalanced, this momentum is multiplied by four, resulting in a serious vibration.

The good news is that the tire balancing process is quite simple and hassle-free. Usually, the mechanic will remove the tires and wheels, and mount each one on a balancing machine. Then they will spin the wheels in order to make sure its weight is balanced evenly around the axle. If that’s not the case, they will detect the imbalance and locate it.

As it’s not possible to simply undo the damage in order to fix the unevenness, the repair process for uneven wheels consists of carefully attaching a lead weight at the exact opposite side of the tire, in order to compensate for the weight differences. After the weight is correctly distributed, the mechanic remounts the tires and wheels back in place.

Even if they haven’t been having problems with vibration in the steering wheel, seats or floorboard, a driver that gets wheel balancing done should feel their vehicle is riding more smoothly, and notice reduced tire wear as well enhanced drive train components in their vehicle.

If you have been noticing the symptoms described above, if you have recently patched or replaced your tires, or if you have run over four thousand miles without having your tires checked, it’s a good idea to have a tire balancing done. Otherwise, you’ll be unnecessarily damaging your vehicle further, which might result in higher costs in the long run. When it comes to tire services, it’s also very important to consider whether or not you’ve had your tires rotated or had your wheel alignment checked.