The Importance of Tire Balancing
Regular care and maintenance help your car continue to drive smoothly and function at its best. The better your car functions, the less fuel it will use, the fewer repairs it will need, and the more comfortable your ride will be. Part of taking good care of your vehicle involves having the tires balanced from time to time. Tire Outlet offers tire balancing along with cheap tire installation at its locations. Learn more about the benefits of balancing your car's tires, and when you should have it performed.
What Is Tire Balancing?
The tires are the only part of a vehicle that comes into contact with the road below. As you drive your car, the friction from the pavement causes wear and tear on the tires. The more you drive, the greater the wear and tear. Over time, your tires will start to lose traction and tread. They also become unbalanced, meaning more weight is placed on certain areas of the tire than on others. The imbalance contributes to additional wear on certain parts of the tires.
Tire balancing is often performed as part of a tire change service but can also be performed on its own. During tire balancing, a technician redistributes the weight of the tires in the wheels. To do that, they will take the tire and wheel off of the vehicle and place it on a spin balancer. The technician will spin the tire on the balancer, observing it for any signs of vibration or unevenness. To rebalance the tire, the technician will adjust small metal weights that are attached to the rim of the wheel. They'll adjust the weights until the tire spins evenly and smoothly in the balancer.
Why Perform Tire Balancing?
There are many reasons to have tire balancing performed when you get a tire change or rotation. Balancing your car's tires helps to improve the life span of the tires, meaning that you end up saving money in the long run. Tire balancing also helps your car operate more smoothly and improves the safety of your ride.
When tires become unbalanced, wear and tear increases. The additional wear on the tire can cause the tread to become worn out more quickly. The faster the tread on the tire wears out, the sooner you'll need to replace them.
Worn-out treads make a car less safe to drive. As the treads become worn, the tires are less able to grip the road. Worn-out treads can make a car more likely to skid or slip in wet conditions. When a tire's tread is worn, it also affects the car's overall handling. It's more difficult to shift gears with worn tires, meaning that imbalanced tires can also affect the drivetrain and suspension of your vehicle.
Another reason to have tire balancing performed, either on its own or with a cheap tire change service, is to make your ride more comfortable. Unbalanced tires in the front of the car can cause the steering wheel to shake or vibrate. If the tires on the back of the car are unbalanced, the floor of the car is going to shake.
Tire Balancing vs. Tire Alignment
Tire balancing is sometimes performed at the same time as wheel or tire alignment, but it's important to understand that the two aren’t the same thing. While tire balancing focuses on redistributing the weight of the tires to improve wear and to smooth your ride, tire or wheel alignment focuses on repositioning the wheels themselves.
When a technician corrects the alignment of the wheels or tires, they adjust the angle of the wheels. The goal is to have the wheels connect with the road better. Signs that the car's wheels need alignment include a crooked steering wheel or a steering wheel that turns to one side or the other even when the car is driving straight ahead.
How Often Should You Have Your Tired Balanced?
Usually, it's a good idea to have your car's tires balanced as part of its general upkeep and maintenance. Ideally, you'll have tire balancing performed every six months or 5,000 miles, or as recommended by your vehicle's owner’s manual. Often, people combine tire balancing with getting a tire change or tire rotation.
If it's been some time since you had the tires balanced, or if you've never had the tires balanced, they might give you a sign or two that it's time to see a technician. If you experience any of the following, it's a good idea to bring your car in for tire balancing:
- Vibration in the steering wheel, seats of the car, or the floor of the car
- Visible signs of uneven wear on the tires or tire treads.
- Missing tire weights on the rims of the wheels.
You'll also want to have the tires balanced any time you make a change to the tires or wheels. For example, if you get a flat and bring it in for repair, that's an ideal time also balance the tires.
Although every 5,000 miles is often the standard recommendation, if you drive on rough or unpaved roads a lot, you might need to bring your car in for a tire change and balancing more frequently.
Who Should Perform Tire Balancing?
Typically, tire balancing isn't a do-it-yourself project, as it often requires the use of special equipment, namely a tire balancer. A tire balancer spins the wheel and measures the vibrations produced. It then lets the technician know where to place the tire weights to improve the balance and reduce vibrations.
The cost of hiring someone to balance your car's tires for you usually isn't prohibitive. Combining balancing your tires with a tire rotation or change is often the most cost-effective way to take care of your vehicle and prolong the life of the tires and wheels.
Tire Outlet offers cheap tire mounting and balancing at our locations. We also offer a full range of other services to keep your car in the best shape possible. Contact us today to make an appointment for service.