How Do You Know When Your Tires Need to be Balanced?

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Everyone knows the feeling. You’re driving along, and as you start to speed up a little, your steering wheel starts shaking. You wonder if you are facing some major problem and if you are suddenly going to lose control of the steering. The most likely cause is that your tires need to be balanced.

What Causes a Wheel to Become Unbalanced

Simple wear and tear is the most likely reason for your tires being unbalanced. As you drive on bumpy, uneven roads, your tires take a beating. Every tire has to be balanced when it is put on. Any time you change your tires in any way, including rotating them or putting on a new set of tires, weights are added opposite to the ones already attached to the tire.

Times When a Balancing Should Be Done

There are certain times when it is important to get your tires balanced to prevent problems:

  • Your steering wheel or floorboard vibrates, especially when you increase speed. This is often the first sign most people notice.
  • At your 5,000-mile tire rotation. Every time something is done to your tires, they need to be balanced.
  • Every two years, unless you regularly traverse rough terrain, then once a year. The more you drive on rough ground, the more likely you will notice balance issues.
  • You get a flat tire repaired. Again, each tire is unique in its balancing needs.
  • You buy one or more new tires.
  • You notice one of your rim weights has fallen off. This is an excellent indicator that the tire is very much off balance.
  • Your tires are showing signs of wear in an uneven pattern. This is the second most noticeable sign of an unbalanced tire. Normally, tires wear evenly, but when they are not balanced, you will notice more wear on either the inside or the outside of the tire.

Can I Do It Myself?

If you have the proper mechanic shop equipment, it is possible to balance your tires yourself, although most people prefer to take their vehicle to a professional.

At Mechanic Outlet, we carry wheel balancers and tire changer/wheel balancer combos to help you amp up your mechanic repair shop. If you aren’t comfortable working on vehicles yourself, contact us and set up an appointment to have your wheels balanced. Once you experience the smoother ride that balanced tires provide, you won’t want to let it go ever again.

Featured image: DedMityay/Shutterstock

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