All about Wheel Balance The What, When and Why of Wheel Balancing


All about Wheel Balance
The What, When and Why of  Wheel Balancing

Procedure of wheel balancing appeared relatively recently, and many drivers neglect this procedure, not considering it to be highly important. But from time to time wheel balancing need to be done, because in almost 100% of cases the center of tire weight and the geometric center of wheel are not the same. This causes discomfort while driving, faster tread-wear and leads to other negative consequences.

What is wheel balancing?

Each wheel, as a rotating object, has three important characteristics:

  • axis of symmetry;
  • axis of rotation where the center of gravity is located;
  • regular shape, when all points of the wheel (circle) are at an equal distance from the center of gravity.

When it comes to balancing, we mean the process of wheel imbalance reduction to an acceptable level, mounting, suspension elements, disc and hub. The wheel must be positioned so as to distribute its weight as evenly as possible relative to its center and axis of rotation. In this case, each point of the circle will be located at an equal distance from the center, as it should be.

Symptoms of out-of-balance tires

Car handling is the main thing that imbalance affects. Therefore, the imbalance is easily recognized by the following signs:

  • the car is moving from side to side
  • vibration of rear part of the car
  • vibration in the steering wheel

The imbalance of the front wheels primarily affects the driver, who begins to experience discomfort. If a driver feels discomfort, then the imbalance is in the front wheels. If the rear part of the car is shaking, there is an imbalance in the rear wheels.

A sharp increase in fuel consumption can also be an indicator of imbalance. The greater the imbalance, the more fuel consumption. This is especially evident when accelerating to high speeds.

Types of imbalance

Imbalance is a condition of a car when there are parts in it that are not balanced. It could be drums, tires or hubs. Their imbalance leads to poor vehicle handling. The reason for this is the shift of the center of gravity of the wheel from the axis of rotation, because of which it is no longer equidistant from the entire surface. Such a wheel is considered unbalanced.

A wheel cannot be perfectly aligned on the axis of rotation. At car plants, there are tolerances for this parameter that cannot be exceeded. When calculating them, the types of wheel imbalance are taken into account:

  • Dynamic imbalance. This is the most common type of imbalance. It is typical for wide tires. Dynamic imbalance occurs due to mismatch of the axis of inertia and the axis of rotation. It is easy to identify: at a speed of about 40 km / h and more, the car begins to move from side to side and the steering wheel vibrates.
  • Static imbalance. It is less common than dynamic. The center of gravity is shifted along the axis of rotation, which is parallel to the axis of inertia, as a result, the weight of the wheel along the length is distributed unevenly. The runout will occur in the longitudinal direction. The car bounces at any speed, and its steering wheel is hard to catch. With static imbalance, the suspension becomes unusable especially quickly.  

Dynamic and static imbalances rarely occur separately.  A combination of dynamic and static imbalance happens more often. Even visually, specialists can easily detect the type of imbalance when lifting the machine on the jack and spinning the wheel.


Reasons for imbalance

In most cases, the imbalance is associated with the tires of the car. Usually the imbalance is caused by


  • tire wear;
  • different widths of the side walls;
  • deformation of the wheel disc;
  • poor-quality tire repair;
  • manufacturing defects of the wheel (holes in the disk, uneven pitch of the tread pattern).


All this affects the quality of the alignment of the wheels, which leads to a shift in their center of gravity and imbalance.


Why is tire balancing required?

When driving with unbalanced wheels, the car owner may face negative consequences, including:

  • Early wear of wheel-hub bearing and its frequent breakdowns. 
  • Constant vibration of the steering wheel while driving, as well as loud noise and shaking.
  • Early and uneven wear of car tires (after several hundred kilometers they become worthless).
  • Quick deterioration of shock absorbers.
  • Deterioration of the car's handling due to the fact that each wheel acquires its centrifugal force. 
  • Unscrewing the bolts of the ball joint, due to which it flies out or falls off the hub, which is caused by vibration of the wheels.


Many inexperienced drivers, even when faced with such discomfort, still doubt whether it is necessary to balance the wheels. But the consequences can be even more serious up to the breakdown of the chassis of the car. For example, driving on wheels with a diameter of 14 inches with an imbalance of only 20 g at a speed of 90 km / h is comparable to an impact to the suspension with a sledgehammer weighing 3 kg. If we take into account the frequency of rotation, then in a minute it experiences about 800 of such blows. Now you can imagine what kind of load the wheels and other parts are experiencing.

From this we can conclude that balancing really needs to be done. It provides a comfortable ride on roads of any kind and quality. Wheel balancing also performs several important functions:


  • extends the life of wheels;
  • eliminates the appearance of excess tire noise while riding;
  • provides good controllability at any speeds;
  • even tire wear.


When and how often is tire balancing required?

Balancing is strictly required in the following cases:

  • After hitting the wheel against the curb.
  • After seasonal and regular tire changes.
  • If there is a noticeable vibration in the cabin during the ride.
  • After steering strokes at speeds above 60 km / h.
  • If the vehicle enters a pothole or deep road pit.
  • After repairing one or more wheels.


Timely contacting specialists will help not only to avoid early tire wear, but also ensure the safety of trips on any roads and at any speed. Laws that would make balancing mandatory do not exist. But still, you should not avoid it: repairs due to an imbalance can be expensive, and in the worst case, passengers and a driver may suffer due to poor handling.

Balancing is required 

  • every 5000 km of run;
  • every 1000-1500 km of run, if you often drive on a bad road with a hit in potholes.


Following these rules, uniform tire wear is provided even in the event of an imbalance. As a result, a car owner can do just balancing and avoid the replacement of all tires, which will save both time and money.


Conclusion

Since the cause of imbalance is most often due to tires that are very worn out or were poorly manufactured, in this case, balancing will not be enough. First you need to replace the tires and then balance them. Timely balancing of the wheels when changing tires and in other cases guarantees long service life to suspension and tires, and safe and comfortable ride to a driver.

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