Why do I need to balance my car wheels?

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Why do I need to balance my car wheels?

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Balancing your car wheels is important as unbalanced wheel causes a lot of vibration, which would lead to the car tyres wearing out quickly and unevenly. Furthermore, uneven tyre wear and vibrations can cause a lot of mechanical problems in the car’s suspension and steering systems.


Step One

Every time a wheel is first mounted onto the axle with a new tire, it has to be balanced. The goal is to make sure the weight is even around the axle. Wheel balance is checked on a wheel balancing machine that can sense as little as 1/4 ounce difference in weight around the wheel. Why worry about 1/4 ounce on a wheel that weighs many pounds? That tiny amount of weight is traveling very fast around the axle: hundreds of times a minute. It creates enough momentum to cause serious vibration. And when you multiply by 4 wheels, the wobble really adds up. Unbalanced tires put uneven pressure on the treads. Tires get too hot and wear unevenly. Tire imbalance can also strain the wheel bearings and suspension system.


Step Two

If you’re not of a technical persuasion you may wonder why wheels need balancing when new car tyres are fitted. Well in simple terms, any rotating object from a washing machine to a windmill has to be balanced in order to reduce vibration. We’re all familiar with the vibration caused by an unevenly loaded washing machine drum and that is what your car tyres have to endure if the wheels have not been properly balanced. Of course the vibrations are nothing like as extreme, but in fact this can contribute to a whole range of other problems for your car tyres, for you and your pocket.


Step Three

Car tyres on wheels that have not been properly balanced will wear very unevenly and very quickly. Over even just a few miles, the vibration causes the car tyres to rub against the road surface which acts like sandpaper to remove the tread. This is equally true of car tyres fitted to the front and back wheels, but on the front wheels the vibration can be felt through the steering wheel which causes a great deal of annoyance and discomfort to the driver. Moreover, the vibrations and resultant uneven wear of car tyres can cause other mechanical problems in the steering and suspension.


Step Four

There are two kinds of wheel balancing techniques in common use and it’s worth understanding the basics of these as it gives you a better picture of why your car tyres really must be properly balanced. Static balancing is a simple process of attaching weights to a wheel and then turning it by hand to find the best result. Dynamic balancing on the other hand takes readings from car tyres that are rotating at normal road speeds and enables the operator to achieve far more accurate results.


Step Five

So wheel balancing is essential for car tyres as it reduces wear for a longer tyre life, improves car handling and performance and increases driver satisfaction and comfort. You wouldn’t want to be shaken about yourself and you wouldn’t want your car tyres to suffer the same fate. One final, important thing to remember is that you can’t just stick weights on willy-nilly and you can’t use the same weights for your new car tyres. The cost of balancing is small but the benefits are tremendous.


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