Automotive Tire Balancing Explained

Automotive Tire Balancing Explained

28th Oct 2016

Most automakers recommend drivers have their tires rotated and balanced every 4,000 to 6,000 miles. Of course, there are times when you should balance them sooner, such as anytime when a tire is patched, repaired or replaced. But do you really know what tire balancing is? For most drivers, the answer is no. Today, we're going to take a closer look at automotive tire balancing, revealing how it works and why it's important.

The Basics of Tire Balancing

Tire balancing is a type of automotive maintenance that involves the use of a special balancing machine to achieve equal balance force across all four tires (or however many tires the vehicle has). The general idea is to make sure none of the tires are higher or lower than the rest. Each of the tires should be properly balanced around the axle.

This is typically done using either one of two methods: static balancers or dynamic balancers. With static balancers, the tires are placed on their vertical axis using a non-rotating spinle tool. With dynamic balancers, force is exerted via asymmetric mass distribution as the tire is rotated at high speeds.

Why Tire Balancing is Important

You should have your tires balanced on a regular basis for several reasons, one of which is to promote a smooth ride. When the tires are not properly balanced, it may cause the vehicle to wobble or even hop. Of course, this can lead to other problems, such as poor gas mileage, uncomfortable driving, and even increase the risk of an automobile accident. Thankfully, this is easily prevented by having your tires balanced on a regular basis, as per your owners manual.

Another reason why you should have your tires balanced is to prevent unnecessary wear. Over time, tires will lose some of their tread, preventing them from gripping the road with as much force. This process happens more quickly, however, with unbalanced tires. The uneven distribution allows for faster tread wear, meaning you'll have to spend more money to replace your tires. So while tire balancing does require some financial investment, you'll reap the benefits of longer-lasting tires.

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of tire balancing and why it's important. Keep in mind that tire balancing requires the use of a special machine, so you'll need to take your vehicle to a professional shop to have it performed.