Fingertips lightly grip the steering wheel as the vehicle veers onto the highway. The weight of the right foot presses against the accelerator, and the speedometer glides to the right towards larger digits. As the vehicle increases speed, the steering wheel shakes. The ride feels wobbly. The higher the speedometer moves, the bumpier the ride becomes. Out-of-balance wheels rob drivers and passengers from a smooth riding experience.
What Does It Mean to Have Out-of-Balance Tires?
Unbalanced tires cause your ride to run rough. An out-of-balance tire refers to unequal weight distribution. When one section of the tire weighs more than another, the tire is out-of-balance. The asymmetrical weight distribution of the tire causes the tire to hop or wobble, and the driver of the vehicle may feel steering wheel or seat vibration. The vibration of the vehicle usually increases with speed. Wheels become unbalanced over time due to natural wear; however, unbalanced wheels can cause further problems than an uncomfortable ride.
Why Should I Get My Wheels Balanced?
1. The drive feels unpleasant, and the amount of vibration makes the vehicle difficult to control.
When driving down the road, the vehicle should always feel smooth, and an unusually bumpy rides indicates that the vehicle needs attention. The unequal distribution of weight in the wheel causes the tire to feel wobbly as it travels on a flat surface, and the resulting vibration can make the vehicle difficult to maneuver. A difficult to maneuver vehicle becomes not only a safety hazard to everyone on the road, not just the driver and the passengers of the vehicle.
2. Tires wear down faster because certain areas of the tire take greater stress.
The unequal distribution of weight on the wheel causes certain areas of the tire to take on greater amounts of stress. When the wheel is perfectly balanced and aligned, the tires all receive equal wear and tear. The wear rate on unbalanced wheels increases because the unequal stress and pressure affects different sections of tire. Out-of-balance tires wear down at a much faster overall rate.
3. Unbalanced tires have a greater risk of going flat.
Out-of-balance tires wear at unequal rates due to unequal weight distribution. Certain sections of the tire take on greater pressure and wear down at a faster rate. Because the wear rate increases with unbalanced tires, the likelihood of a flat tire increases.
4. The fuel economy of the vehicle decreases with unbalanced wheels.
Unbalanced wheels reduce the miles per gallon that a vehicle travels. Out of balance wheels make the vehicle work harder to travel down the road to the destination. Wobbly, out-of-balance wheels need more energy to travel the same distance as balanced wheels. Having the wheels balanced increases the vehicle's overall fuel efficiency.
How We Balance Wheels
Balancing wheels refers to making sure that all sections of the tire share an equal weight distribution so that the vehicle rides smooth. An auto technician uses high-tech machinery to determine the location of the heavy section. To balance a tire, a technician attaches a lead weight to the opposite side of the heavy section to compensate for the weight. The added weight gives the tire equal weight on all sides, so the vehicle can smoothly travel down the road.
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