What is the first thing you will check if your car begins to shake while driving on the road? Yes, the tires! If that’s the case, 80% of your tires are likely out of balance.
But can you tell which one it is?
How to fix it?
Can you detect and can you balance your tires at home ?
Is it safe to keep driving with it?
This article will teach you everything you need to know about imbalanced tires. The better the balance of your tires, the smoother your vehicle will perform. Let’s get your car back to driving smoothly!
Tire balancing 101
Take note that when we say “tires,” we only mean the exterior rubber, not the wheels.
The vehicle’s weight is distributed on its tires, resulting in “vehicle balance.” Tires that connect to the road are an important factor in balancing the entire vehicle. A weight difference of ½ ounce is enough to cause a vibration while driving. To achieve smooth rotation without unpleasant vibrations, they must be in balance.
Is Tire Balancing Important?
Unbalanced wheel/tire assemblies or misaligned wheels cause vibration, which makes driving unpleasant. It’s not just the vibration. Over time, having out-of-balance tires reduces the lifespan of your tires. And then. Your cars.
In short, your vehicles need balancing to achieve the following:
- A smoother ride
- Better gas mileage
- Fewer noises and vibrations
- Less strain on the drivetrain
- Less wear and tear on the tires
Why Your Tires Get Unbalanced
Everyday wear and tear
Normal driving conditions on rough and bumpy roads can cause the tire to become unbalanced. Driving too fast, speed bumps or gaping potholes can all throw tires off balance. Worse, it can scratch the wheel or rims, resulting in a lack of weight balance, which will cost you more than just your monthly tire-balancing bill.
Not all tires perfectly meet their manufacturer’s standard. An improper installation can sometimes result in a difference in equal weight distribution. Or during shipping and handling, the damage could happen to car tires. Minor manufacturing flaws like that contribute to the imbalance problem.
Surprisingly, the temperature has a significant impact on tires. Cold weather causes your tires to deflate and lose air. Driving with low-air-pressure tires can cause them to wear out faster.
Signs Your Tire is Unbalanced
Vibration is the most common sign that your tire is out of balance. When the car’s balance is disturbed, vibration travels from the chassis to the cabin. Depending on the imbalance, road conditions, and vehicle speed, it can be a slight hum or a shake.
If the occupants of the vehicle can feel the “shake” or the driver can hear it clearly, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your local garage.
Your steering wheel is less responsive
If you notice your steering wheel takes longer to respond and is harder to control, it might fight the resistance created by your unbalanced tire.
Your car is less fuel-efficient
Does your gas run out more quickly than usual? Examine your tires. Because unbalanced tires increase road resistance, the engine must work harder to maintain a constant speed.
You will also observe a sudden decrease in fuel economy when accelerating with unbalanced tires. The decrease in fuel economy is proportional to the severity of the vehicle’s balance issue.
Humming or buzzing noises
Having an out-of-balance tire is not a walk in the park; besides the fact that your car “trembles” a lot, it also comes with an abnormal hissing noise. And it gets even louder when your vehicle speeds up.
Your shocks and bearings are worn
When your tire is out of balance, the bearings, ball joints, and shocks are put under a lot more strain. This uneven motion causes vibration and banging noises. Furthermore, that particular tire portion wears out faster. Driving further deteriorates your suspension system and increases the likelihood of tire failure.
Which Tire Is Out Of Balance?
Look for worn and smoothed-out treads tire—that’s likely the unbalanced one.
Feel the type of vibration to get crystal clear on which tire is out of balance. You’d feel the vibration in your hands touching the steering wheel if the issue is the front tires’ balance. If the car’s occupant or the driver busts it from the back seat, it’s the rear tires.
How To Tell Which Tire Is Out Of Balance?
The vehicles wobble and vibrate as the engine warms up. If the vibration becomes intense while the rotation speed increases, it’s time to get your tires checked!
Before those unbalanced tires get out of hand, here is the “advanced” tire-balancing checklist:
- Tire gets flat
- Uneven tire wear.
- Buy or repair new tire(s).
- Every 5,000 miles driving.
- The rims’ weight is not as it used to
- Vibration is from the steering wheel, the floorboard, or your seat.
- Every least every two years, once yearly, if you drive rough roads.
Can you Balance your Tires At Home, and How To Balance Tires?
The answer is yes. Given how simple tire balancing is, you can! Only a specialized tool, a portable tire balancer, is required. This tool indicates where to place tire weights. And this helps in balancing out heavy spots to distribute weight across each tire evenly. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to balance your tires at home :
Do you find it difficult to work on your car? You want to save time, and money isn’t an issue. To achieve perfect tire balance, take your vehicle to a mechanic. Professionals will have reliable knowledge to assess the imbalance and restore your “balance” in minutes.
How Much To Balance A Tire?
There are tire shops that will balance your tires for free. However, on average, a low budget of between $15 and $80 is required. It is also dependent on your vehicle, tires, and shop.
Can I drive with tires out of balance?
You still have the option. But, in order to prioritize safety, it’s best to pay attention to this. Driving with an unbalanced tire causes more severe damage to both the wheels and the suspension in the long run. So, instead of spending a thousand dollars on those parts, spending $15-80 is still a good option.
The signs of imbalance
- There’s uneven wear on the tread
- Fuel consumption starts to increase
- The suspension encounters some issues
- The seat and steering wheel vibrate at high speeds.
Causes of Imbalance tires
- Normal driving use
- Damage from rough roads
- Low-temperature condition
- Manufacturing imperfections
Which Tire Is Out Of Balance?
- Look at the tires
- Feel the vibration
Balancing the tires and wheels when:
- Rotating the tires
- Buying or repairing tires, rims, or wheels
- The car hits a huge obstacle as a pothole.
Solutions for out-of-balance tires
- Take your car to a mechanic
- Use a portable tire balancer to get it fixed at home.
Ignoring this minor issue may result in a cascade of serious consequences in the future. Not about the lifespan of your car; taking a closer look can be dangerous.
That is the bottom line. Why keep your car vibrating and pulling to one side when well-balanced tires can provide a smoother ride? Find the offending tire and get your car back in balance!