Why and how often do you need to balance the wheels?

Most often, car owners think little about such a procedure as wheel balancing. However, if you do not want to look for wrecking yards in Fresno or another city for your car just yet, you should regularly pay attention to wheel balancing. In this article, we will look at the consequences of ignoring wheel balancing.

Why do you need wheel balancing?

The wheel of even a car from the factory during movement inevitably shifts by some millimeters from its axis of rotation, the center of mass of the wheel also shifts. As a result, imbalance occurs – a discrepancy between the center of mass of the wheel and the axis of its rotation. It is worth bearing in mind that even new wheels are not perfectly balanced.

Tires are not produced 100 percent identical and perfect, some fragments may be a few grams heavier and millimeters thicker, or, conversely, lighter and thinner. Similarly, the disk is produced with minor differences in weight and size. When the structure is assembled, it must have a common center of gravity. The wheel is balanced for this purpose. 

This procedure minimizes wheel imbalance as much as possible, and this effect will be seen in parts such as suspension, hub, and rim mountings. Imbalance leads to a state of imbalance of these parts of the machine. As a result, there is a decrease in controllability, performance, and wear resistance.

Signs of imbalance will be the following manifestations in the behavior of the vehicle:

  • the car wobbles while driving;
  • vibration appears in the rear of the car;
  • vibration and rattling are transmitted to the steering wheel.

Sometimes the vibration is expressed in a small subtle noise, in serious cases, it is a strong shaking. Vibrations in the front of the car indicate an imbalance in the wheels of the front axle, respectively, with vibrations in the rear, there is a problem with balancing the rear wheels. When the wheels are out of balance, the car’s fuel consumption increases and the driver will notice this on high-speed trips.

The reason for the unbalance of car wheels:

  • worn tires with defective tread pattern (tire sidewall width varies);
  • the wheels were under repair (poor repair quality);
  • deformation of rims;
  • factory defect wheels.

Consequences of ignoring wheel balancing

At first, nothing noticeable will happen, but over time, problems will begin due to the centrifugal forces that are transmitted to the suspension and body elements. Centrifugal forces have multidirectional vectors, due to which vibration is felt, which will increase. All elements of the car will gradually receive excessive loads while driving.

What awaits a car whose owner ignores wheel balancing? Let’s consider it.

Accelerated tire wear

The vibration that is constantly experienced over a long period of time results in uneven grip between the tires and the road surface during every ride. As a result, the slipping of the car will periodically appear, which, in turn, will cause accelerated wear of the tire treads.

The driver will face the need to more often replace worn-out tires with new ones, and this will entail additional financial costs. Tire wear occurs much faster – uneven wear of the tread leads to a reduction in tire life by 3 or 5 times.

Increased suspension wear

Vibration also has a negative effect on the suspension of the car (bearing elements of the suspension wear out and collapse quickly). The hub bearings are the first to take the hit, which can even fail completely. As a result, you will have to change these parts for new ones and carry out expensive repairs.

Vibration is transmitted to the steering wheel

In the presence of vibration on the steering wheel, driving is very uncomfortable, and driver fatigue increases. This will be especially true when traveling long distances.

Decreased driving safety

When the car is moving, the unbalance of the wheels is expressed in the fact that at high speed the wheels of one axle move in different directions: one jumps up, and at the same time the other makes a jerk down.

Loss of vehicle control

All these consequences, caused by the imbalance of the wheels relative to the axis of rotation, will necessarily affect the handling of the car. In mild cases, reduced control only makes it harder for the driver to drive, makes him concentrate more on the road, and he will tire more quickly with a further loss of attention.

In more severe cases, loss of control becomes unpredictable. And despite the fact that slippage will greatly increase the braking distance, all these phenomena can eventually lead to a serious accident.

How often do you need to balance your wheels?

Look in the manual for your car, and you will see that the manufacturer recommends carrying out this procedure when the car has reached 6,000 to 9,000 miles. However, everything depends on the behavior of the car. If the beating of the steering wheel is felt, then you still have to balance the wheels.

If the driver changes seasonal tires on his own, then after installing the wheels he needs to drive a little, listening to possible vibrations. If none are found, then balancing is not needed. But in these cases it will be necessary:

  • vehicle mileage exceeds 9,000 miles per season;
  • you have had a long trip exceeding 1,242 miles;
  • the car fell into a pit with a wheel at high speed;
  • in the process of driving there was a blow to the suspension of the car;
  • the car often slows down by skidding on asphalt (you do not have an anti-lock braking system);

Wrapping up

Wheel balancing can not be done too often, it is important to consider the operating conditions. You need to worry about the correct balance of the wheels if there were bumps, or after changing tires for the season. However, it is worth remembering that balancing plays a big role in ensuring traffic safety and increasing the level of comfort. If this type of maintenance is ignored, negative consequences will appear: tire wear occurs faster, traction deteriorates and vehicle maneuverability decreases. 

We recommend that you take care of your car properly, otherwise you will have to get rid of a neglected car very quickly. If for some reason you are the owner of an old broken car, you can quickly sell it with the help of JunkCarsUs. This company buys cars in any condition, including non-running and totaled cars.