When new tyres are mounted onto wheels or rims, the mechanic should add small weights to equalise the weight of the assembly. It ensures that they spin smoothly, without wobbling or vibration when the wheel operates.
Adding small weights to the individual wheels counterbalances the heavy parts of the wheel and tyre assembly. This process is known as wheel balancing or tyre balancing.
For noticeable vibration to occur, only 15 grams difference in weight across the wheel assembly is needed. Even slight manufacturing imperfections can lead to significant wobbling or steering issues if not corrected with effective wheel weight placement.
Over time, general driving and bumps can cause wheels to become imbalanced as the weights can become loose, incorrectly placed or fall off entirely. So, it is good practice to include wheel balancing as part of your regular vehicle maintenance.
Note – wheel balancing and wheel alignment are two different services, but both are essential steps in wheel and tyre maintenance. It is also super important to regularly check tyre tread to keep your tyres safe.
There are two types of tyre imbalance, but both are corrected by the same method of wheel balancing; the attachment of counterweights on the wheel’s outer surface (rim).
When there is a “heavy” or “light” place in a tyre, it creates a vertical vibration or a bumpy, up-and-down motion (hop) that prevents the wheel from rolling evenly.
An effect called “wheel shimmy” is created when both sides of the tyre and wheel assembly are unequally weighted. The symptom of this is a vibration that wobbles side-to-side when driving.
Wheel balancing is usually needed when a driver notices bumpy up-and-down vibrations and/or side-to-side wheel wobbling. These, in turn, affect the ability to control steering and becomes an obvious safety issue.
As well as safety concerns, imbalanced tyres and wheels can cause uneven tyre wear and undue stress on steering components. Over time, this increases your maintenance requirements and adds to upkeep costs on your vehicle. It could also result in the need to replace tyres and vehicle assembly prematurely, proving costly and inconvenient.
In smaller, light vehicles, vibrations and wobbling are felt significantly more than in larger cars as they don’t have the advantage of weight to dampen the effect. Additionally, modern cars bearing low profile tyres tend to feel the effects of even the slightest imbalance.
In this modern age, where smaller cars are favoured by many, wheel balancing has become even more critical. Therefore, it is paramount that all tyre and wheel servicing workshops prioritise the ability to offer this service in a fast, accurate, and efficient manner.
Here are 5 Reasons Your Automotive Shop Needs a Wheel Balancer for further reading.
Like all vehicle maintenance services, the accuracy and efficiency of wheel balancing depend heavily upon the equipment used.
Whether you are selecting equipment for your workshop or a service provider for your car, proven equipment with features such as a direct-axis drive system will ensure accuracy within milligrams.
Genesis Equipment offers two brands of wheel balancing equipment, which offer premium features, precision-engineered components and an industry-leading warranty. We are the exclusive Australian distributor of Ranger and Italian made Sicam auto care and tyre service equipment. We welcome the opportunity to provide advice for the most suitable set-up in your workshop.