Have you ever felt a weird vibration coming from your steering wheel when you are driving along the road, or your car shaking when you accelerate? Are your tires wearing out faster than usual. If so, you may be seeing the results of imbalanced wheels, which could make for a rough ride and can have some dangerous and expensive side effects.
The Importance of Balancing Your Tires
Imbalanced tires will wobble or hop up and down, which causes vibration. If a front tire is not properly balanced you will feel vibration in the steering wheel. If the problem is in the rear, the tremor will be noticeable in the seat or floor.
When all areas of the wheel-tire unit are as equal in weight as possible, the tire will roll smoothly. This helps it wear evenly and maximize tire life. Tire balancing is a tune-up for your wheel-tire set. It makes sure that weight is evenly distributed around the entire circumference of the unit. The common symptoms of out-of-balance tires are uneven and faster tread wear, poor fuel economy, and vibration in the steering wheel, the floorboard or the seat that gets worse at faster speeds.
When To Get Your Tires Balanced
Get your tires balanced when:
- You feel vibration in the steering wheel, the floorboard or your seat
- You get them rotated, generally every 5,000 miles
- At the very least every two years, once yearly if you drive rough roads
- You get a flat and repair a tire
- You buy any new tire(s)
- A weight that used to be on the rim falls off
- You notice uneven tire wear
Regular balancing reduces the chance of an imbalance causing irregular or uneven tread wear. Properly balanced tires help minimize uneven wear and extend their life. When tires are balanced, small weights are attached to the wheels to limit vibration of the tire and wheels as they turn.
If you feel a vibration, do not wait to get it diagnosed. You will head off other problems — and enjoy a smoother ride — when your tires are well balanced.