Tire balancing is one of the recommended services listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Often confused with wheel alignment, tire balancing is important for assuring the best performance from a vehicle, and for gaining the longest service life from tires.
Tire balancing provides a smooth ride and assures even tire wear by properly adjusting the tire weight distribution around the vehicle. Tire balancing is different from wheel alignment, which involves the angle of the wheels and their relation to the ground.
As you drive, your tires lose balance, so periodic tire balancing service is needed to return proper balance. Over time, tread wear causes the distribution of weight around the tire to change, which leads to the imbalance. This may be felt in unusual shaking or vibration as you drive.
When you have tire balancing service done, the technician will use a calibrated spin balancer, testing non-moving/static balance and the moving/dynamic balance. Tires will be restored to the proper balance in accordance with the test results. Tire balancing is usually done in combination with tire rotation, and is typically performed every 5-6,000 miles or 6 months.
Taking your car in for regular tire balancing service is especially critical in today’s vehicles, which are designed to be lighter weight. The heavier weight of older model cars actually helped smooth out the ride by suppressing vibrations before they were felt. Modern tire design is more responsive, with lower profiles for style and performance. Tire imbalance can cause problems for both the vehicle and tires.