How to Check a Tire for Balance

1.

Be attentive to any vibrating or shaking your car displays between the speeds of 35 to 55 miles per hour. If your car isn't feeling smooth while driving and your steering wheel is shaking or vibrating, you might have a tire balance problem.

2.

Look at your tires for any flat areas, mostly on the sides. This is a sign that you need to have your tires balanced.

3.

Look for any missing tire weights on the wheels, if you have weights. Usually light weight wheels are added to your tires to help reduce rotational inertia. If they fall off, it can cause balance issues. The light weight wheels are small rectangular or square metallic weights attached on the outer edge of your wheels; they are attached to the wheel, not a part of it. However, if a tire specialist has not mentioned adding light weights on your tires wheels on previous balance services, than you probably don't have them . See Resources to view how the light weight wheels look.

4.

Observe how your vehicle handles when you brake. If your car pulls sideways when you hit the brakes, it might be because a tire is out of balance or has low air pressure.

5.

Rotate the vehicle tires every 3,000 to 6,000 miles. This is a good way to prevent flat areas on the tread. Even if you know you have flat areas, rotating your tires will help you stretch the life of your tires.

6.

Check the warranty on your tires. If your tires are fairly new and you already have flat areas, consider taking them back. Depending on your tire's condition, the service department might be able to "true" your tire by cutting rubber off the tread, which will make it round again. If your warranty has expired, you might have to pay for the "true" service, or buy new tires. Check with your service department.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your tires are properly balanced, you will burn less gas.
  • Unbalanced tires can be a safety hazard, making your vehicle shake from side to side (shimmying) and or hop up and down (tramping). This can make your car hard to control.
  • Having unbalanced tires makes your vehicle's motor work harder in order to keep your car moving.
  • Performing a balance service on your tires is crucial to prolonging the life of the tires. Balancing also makes your car drive more smoothly; when your tires are out of balance, your car becomes hard to control. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to the many signs that might indicate that your tires are due for a balance. If you ignore these signs, you could end up have to spend even more money on repairs you could have prevented.