Home > Ask Gary > What is wheel balancing and do I really need that, too?

What is wheel balancing and do I really need that, too?

wheel balanceIn last week’s blog, I discussed the alignment and that is often confused with wheel balancing. This is also the one service that is probably the least understood of all of the tire services.

Wheel balancing allows the tires and wheels to spin without causing any vibrations. This is accomplished by checking for any heavy spots on the wheel-tire combination and compensating for it by placing a measured lead weight on the opposite site of the wheel from where the heavy spot is.

Most tires go out of balance very gradually so you may not notice it for quite a while. If it happens suddenly, it is possible that one of the lead balancing weights fell off. The purpose or wheel balancing is to maximize the life of your tires while improving traction and steering control.

The symptoms of a wheel that is out of balance are:
• Vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds, usually between 50 and 70 mph. The faster you drive, the more you will feel the vibration. Vibration mostly in the steering wheel is usually indicative of the front wheels are out of balance.
• Vibration in the seat or floorboard at certain highway speeds. If the vibration is mostly in the seat, the problem is usually the rear tires.
• Scalloped or other wear patterns on the tires.

If you are experiencing any of these, please make an appointment for service, as it will only get progressively worse. In the long-run, the goal with services including alignment, wheel balance and tire rotation, is to lengthen the life of your tires. Next week, we will discuss tire rotation.

Here at Jaffarian Automotive, we use a state-of-the-art Hunter wheel balance system (pictured above). If you would like to come to Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion, we are here for your convenience six full days a week, including Saturday, and you can book an appointment on line or by phone.

Ask Gary Jaffarian

Categories: Ask Gary
  1. February 6, 2014 at 7:56 AM

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    • February 16, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Thanks for the compliment. I’m so glad you found my blog and hope you continue to follow it. Thanks for signing up. Gary Jaffarian

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