Wheel balancing is the process of balancing the weight of tires and wheel assembly to ensure that they spin smoothly at high speed. Wheel balancing ensures that the weight is evenly distributed across the entire wheel assembly. If the wheels are not balanced, it can cause uneven weight distribution, translating to a large imbalance in the centrifugal force at higher velocities. These issues will further result in uneven wear and tear of the tires, vibration in the steering wheel, and higher fuel consumption. Maintaining a proper wheel balance is essential for the durability of the tires and for ensuring a smooth ride. Everyday use or manufacturing imperfections can contribute to weight imbalances in wheels. Getting your wheel rebalanced every two to three years is recommended to keep these issues at bay.
No matter how carefully the manufacturing process is done, some wheel imbalance is bound to happen. Wear and tear on the tires due to prolonged use can also change the wheel balance over time. Wheel imbalances can also happen when you have a sudden impact while driving, like running into a pothole or hitting a curb. Sudden maneuvers in curves or speed bumpers can also cause an imbalance in your wheels. Every time you change the wheels of your vehicle, balancing should be done. This is critical in the case of heavy vehicles. A slight imbalance in the weight of wheels at high speeds for a heavy vehicle can cause a huge imbalance in outward forces on the wheels, resulting in the wheels spinning unevenly. In the case of heavy vehicles making sharp turns, wheel imbalances can result in accidents. If you are a car owner and have noticed uncomfortable vibrations during a journey, it is time to rebalance your wheels. Another sign to look out for is heavy steering wheels that are suddenly harder to maneuver – if you find it hard to keep driving in a straight line, it is time to ensure that your wheels are rebalanced.
If you have adequate knowledge about the wheel parts and assembly, wheel balancing can be done yourself in your garage. You can balance your wheel assembly by employing a balancing machine. Manual balancing of tires might be a tedious job and can also fall short in terms of precision. The balancing machine determines the heaviest points in the assembly after spinning it at a very high speed. It then recommends how many weights should be placed and where to place them to balance the wheels. Some other balancers can also measure whether any other issues might cause vibration while traveling. They do this by pressing large rollers against the tires while it spins slowly. These advanced balancers can rectify vibration issues by a process called match mounting, where the tires are adjusted around wheels such that the high spot of the tire matches the light spot of the wheel. Routine balancing of your wheels is necessary as the wear and tear due to usage can change the balance over time.