Tire balancing is one of the most important parts of car maintenance. Unfortunately, it is also one element that most car owners often neglect. As a matter of fact, some cannot even distinguish tire balancing with wheel alignment. So, what does it mean to balance tiresactually, and most importantly, why do we have to do it regularly. If wheel balancing is already become a part of your regular car maintenance, then it is really good. But if it hasn’t, make sure you bring your car to the tire shop immediately right after reading this article.
What Is Tire Imbalanced
Imbalanced tire happens when there are some imperfections on the tire which makes one side can be heavier than the other. When the tires are not balanced, you will feel that the steering wheel is vibrating, especially when you go above 60 miles per hour. This condition itself is not dangerous but it can make driving very inconvenient. However, just because you don’t mind the vibration, it doesn’t mean that your car can handle it well as well. Tire imbalanced can affect your car negatively in the long run because all those shakiness and vibration can make the suspension and car components worn out faster, which can cost you a lot of money.
How to Balance the Tires
Now let’s answer our main questions. What does it mean to balance tires and how is it done exactly? Even with the technologies wheel makers have right now, imbalance can still occur. This is why the tires are always inspected first before being mounted to car. Furthermore, road condition and driving style can also cause the tire to lose its balance at some point. If you want to balance your tire, simply bring your car to the tire shop that you like and the mechanic will handle everything for you.
The mechanic will put the tire in a special balancing machine. The machine will help bringing all the unbalanced weight to a certain side. After that, additional weight, in a form of metal lines, will be put on the opposing side so that in the end, the tire will be balance and safe to use.
What’s the Difference with Wheel Alignment?
So, can you tell what does it mean to balance tires now? If you do, it means it is time to answer our second question. What is the difference between tire balancing and wheel alignment? Unlike tire balancing that mostly deal with the weight of the tire, wheel alignment is done by fixing the angle of the wheels. Sometimes, the angle of the wheels can change slightly, not enough to be noticed by bare eyes, but more than suffice to make driving uncomfortable. When you feel that going in a straight line is very hard, that is a very good sign that your wheels are unaligned.
Furthermore, another sign you can see is uneven wear on your tires. Because the angle of the wheels is not perfect, one spot will be more worn out than the others. It means, if you regularly align your wheels, the lifespan of your tire can be longer because every part wears out evenly.