When was the last time your tyres were balanced, and why is it important?
Tyre balancing is one of the most recommended car maintenance services in a car owner’s manual. However, many motorists still skip this crucial maintenance task, risking the health of their vehicle and others on the road. Much like the shoes on your feet, car tyres experience wear and tear due to prolonged exposure to friction. Also, remember, unbalanced tyres wear unevenly.
At a certain point in time, you will have to replace them to maintain the stability and safety of your car. But before it gets to that, tyre balancing helps to even and prevent wear and assures you of a smooth and more efficient driving experience.
So, when was the last time you balanced your tyres?
What is tyre balancing?
Tyre balancing, which can also be referred to as tyre unbalancing, refers to the distribution of weight inside the car tyre or wheel. As the tyre rotates, an imbalance in weight distribution may lead to external pressure on the axle, causing vibrations that affect the stability of the steering wheel. If you notice unusual vibrations, excessive tyre wear, or suspension damage on your vehicle, it is a sign that your vehicle needs its tyres to be balanced.
Is tyre balancing the same as wheel alignment?
Although both are regular car maintenance services, tyre balancing is not the same as wheel alignment. Wheel alignment focuses on correcting the tyre angles so they move in the same direction when driving. This also leads to proper contact of tyres with the road, which helps to maximise tyre life by reducing wear.
What does tyre balancing involve?
During tyre balancing, the tyres are mounted on a balancing machine that measures the balance as the tyre is rotating. Once unbalance is discovered, you can attach small lead weights to eliminate the unbalance. Furthermore, tyres must be balanced on the wheels during fitting since they are not the same weight. Tyre unbalance may result from a valve or slight deviation; your local mechanic will notice and correct this.
What are the signs that your tyres need balancing?
When the wheel-tyre assembly on your car is out of balance, several things will tell you there is a problem. You’ll notice it from the feeling of the steering wheel or sometimes the floor. Another sign is a repeated “thump” sound that gets faster as you accelerate and vice versa.
Only ever use a trusted and reliable garage to carry out your tyre rebalancing, as this will ensure your vehicle remains safe and roadworthy.
Here are some common signs of unbalanced tyres:
Fast or uneven tread wear
When the treads on your tyres are worn unevenly, one side of the tyre is bearing a large chunk of the weight. This increases the friction on the side, causing it to wear faster. This is especially common when tyres are improperly inflated.
The car pulls to one side
Your car pulling to one side is a symptom of tyre unbalance, but it may also imply that your wheels need alignment. Getting your tyres rotated and balanced approximately can help solve this issue.
Unbalanced tread depth on your tyres causes a certain loud noise when driving. You will mostly notice the noise coming from one tyre. Similarly, alignment problems also lead to tyre noises as the air chamber emits a drumming or humming sound as you drive.
Vibrating steering wheel
When your steering wheel vibrates or shakes when driving, your wheel-tyre assembly is probably out of balance. However, several other factors may cause this, including worn-out suspension, a bent wheel, or damaged tyres. If unsure, take your car to the local mechanic for an accurate diagnosis.
How is tyre balance measured?
A mechanic or tyre shop measures tyre balance in two different ways: using dynamic balancers or static balancers. When the unbalance is steep, the tyres are either rejected or downgraded. Additionally, the tyres must be measured again on the balancing machine after getting fitted to the wheels to correct the combined unbalance. However, the tyres may still be rebalanced when the driver experiences excess vibrations.
Why should you balance tyres?
With every trip on the road, your tyres progressively lose balance, which can only be restored when you visit a garage for a rebalance. As well as this the treads on your tyres wear over time, they alter the weight distribution around the tyres, resulting in unbalance. This is typically manifested through the unusual vibration of the steering wheel while driving. You can find out more about your responsibilities for safely maintaining your vehicle here.
How often should tyres be balanced?
Experts recommend tyre balancing be carried out with every tyre rotation, which typically comes after 5000–6000 miles or 6 months. Furthermore, wheel balancing should always be involved anytime you want to replace your tyres with a new set. But tyre rotation and balance will also come in handy in other situations, including:
- When you hit a pothole or curb while driving, which messes up the balance of the front tyre, regular rotating will be required
- When you get a flat tyre repaired
- When you have uneven or fast tread wear on the rear tyres
- When your steering wheel vibrates unusually
How long can you go with unbalanced tyres?
According to skilled mechanics, you can drive on unbalanced tyres without problems as long as you take all of the safety precautions. However, the longest you should go is a couple of weeks to prevent damage to other parts of your vehicle and unnecessary tyre wear. The sooner you get your tyres rotated and balanced, the better and safer you will be, as well as creating additional costs for other parts that weren’t needed.
What are the benefits of tyre balancing?
Tyre balancing offers a range of benefits to you and your car. It results in an even distribution of weight and force across the wheel-tyre assembly, which guarantees a smooth and more efficient journey on the road. As the driver, you’ll feel more comfortable and enjoy the journey. Furthermore, well-balanced tyres encourage uniform tread wear, stabilise your driving, and enhance fuel economy.
In Summary: Tyre Balancing
Properly and regularly balanced tyres are critical for your car. It increases fuel economy, reduces wear and tear, and smooths the drive for a comfortable experience on the road. If you can’t remember the last time you had your tyres balanced, contact us today at 0117 963 8916 to arrange your appointment.
We offer a huge range of services for any type and size of vehicle. Visit us here to find out more.