What Does It Mean to Balance Tires and Why Should I Do it?

You have probably heard the term thrown around before, “do your tires need to be balanced?” An unbalanced tire causes uneven tire wear, poor gas mileage, and can end in a blowout when you least want it. So, getting your tires balanced is important to the wear and tear of the tires themselves and your vehicle.  

What even is “Balancing” tires? 

When mechanics balance your tires, they are making sure that the weight of the rubber is evenly distributed around the entire circumference of the wheel. Tires fresh from the factory are not usually perfectly balanced. An imperfection as small as a few grams can distort the weight of your tire, that is why it is important to check even brand-new tires for balancing.  

What Happens if my Tires are Unbalanced? 

If your tires are not balanced, the tread will be the first to let you know. Unbalanced tires wear unevenly, different sections of the same tire may be worn down more than other sections, making your vehicle’s grip on the road precarious. Another tell-tale sign is poor fuel economy. If you start to notice that you cannot go as far as you used to without gassing up sooner, then it just might be your tires. Lastly, another sign is vibration in your steering wheel, your floorboards, or your seat.  

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When the tire is perfectly balanced, it will roll smoothly and wear evenly, but imbalanced tires will wobble or hop up and down which makes the vehicle vibrate. If a front tire is not balanced, then you will feel the vibration in the steering wheel, but if it is a rear tire, you will feel it in the seat or the floor.  

How do they fix tire balance?  

The solution is actually simple but very precise. The wheel will first be taken off the vehicle and put on a computerized wheel balancing machine, and then spun very quickly while the technician takes measurements of the vibrations. Once an imbalance is found, the tech will apply weights to the wheel rim where needed to correct the issue 

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When Should I get My Tires Balanced? 

It’s often recommended that if you are getting your wheels aligned, you should also get your tires balanced. Alignment is not the same as balance, though misaligned tires can have similar symptoms to unbalanced tires. If you’re going in for a routine maintenance check, you should get your tires balanced to make sure everything is in working order. Listed are when you should go and see a mechanic. 

  • You feel a vibration in your vehicle that wasn’t there before. 
  • When you get your tires rotated, every 8,000 km.  
  • Every two years, once yearly if you drive on rugged terrain. 
  • If you get a flat and repair that tire. 
  • You buy new tires. 
  • A weight has fallen off.  
  • When the tread looks unevenly worn.  

While it’s common for vehicles to make various noises, don’t hesitate to come visit us at Civic Motors Honda if you hear or feel a vibration that you’re not used to. Your safety and the well-being of your vehicle is paramount, and we want to make sure you’ll be safe on the roads.