Tire balancing prevents premature tire wear

Have you noticed your tires wearing out at different paces, or is there uncomfortable shaking in the steering wheel? These are two signs of tire imbalance, an operation that should be done regularly to prevent irregular tire wear and improve the handling of your vehicle.

The poor performance of your tires can also be due to their quality. To find premium tires for your vehicle, visit your local Nokian Tyres dealer to find safe, fuel-efficient and comfortable tires.

What is tire balancing?

Irregularities and imbalances in the wheel and tire assembly can be fixed with small weights attached to the wheel rim. This operation is known as tire balancing. However, it is not something that you can do in your home garage without specialized equipment. Instead, you should take your vehicle to a professional technician who uses a wheel balancing machine to fix the imbalances and adjust the weights accurately.

The tire balancing machine is needed to identify if and how much imbalance there is in the tire. After the tire is removed from the vehicle, it is mounted to the tire balancing machine that spins it and determines any imbalances and how much adjusting is needed to fix them.

After the tire is measured in the balancing machine, the technician attaches a small wheel weight to balance the tire. However, sometimes more than just the small balancing weights are needed, and the whole tire must be repositioned on the wheel.

White SUV traveling along a highway

Signs of poor tire balance

Reacting to signs of imbalanced tires can save you plenty of trouble and even money as your tires do not wear prematurely. Imbalances in the tires can also increase their rolling resistance, leading to higher fuel consumption. Look for these signs of improper tire balance:

Uneven tire wear

Uneven and premature tire tread wear can be the consequence of various issues with the vehicle or tires. Other causes of tire wear include over and underinflated tires, aggressive driving and exceptionally harsh driving conditions. Regular tire rotation helps to prevent uneven tire tread wear.

Shaking in the steering wheel

Tire imbalance can lead to shaking and vibration that you can feel in the steering wheel and car seat while driving. The shaking is more pronounced at higher speeds. Balancing the tires can eliminate the uncomfortable vibration and lead to a smoother ride.

The vehicle pulls to one side

Handing the vehicle can be difficult with unbalanced tires. Not only is this a nuisance for driving, but it makes your vehicle a hazard in traffic. Get your tires balanced if you notice your car pulling to one side or the other.

When do you need tire balancing?

Make sure to get your tires balanced when you notice any of the above-mentioned tell-tale signs of imbalance. Not only will you have a safer and more comfortable drive with balanced tires, but the service life of your tires is longer without uneven tread wear.

There are other instances when you should have your tires balanced:

  • Tire balancing should be done when changing new tires as they can have slight weight differences and imbalances that require correction.
  • Balancing your tires is advisable in connection with tire rotation. Rotating tires refers to changing the position of your tires under the vehicle from front to back and vice versa.
  • Tires can get out of balance after hitting a pothole or curb, especially at high speeds. If the impact is particularly forceful, make sure to inspect the tire for any possible damage.
  • Vehicle manufacturers often recommend tire balancing as part of regular maintenance. This typically occurs every 6,000 to 12,000 miles, but check the recommendation by your own vehicle’s manufacturer.

City road covered with wintertime potholes

Tire balancing vs. wheel alignment

It is easy to confuse tire balancing with another useful maintenance operation, tire alignment. Although these two can be the solution to some of the same issues, they are, in fact, two separate operations. However, the two are often done together. Whereas tire balancing fixes imbalances in the tires, wheel alignment is used to adjust the angles of your tires.

Misaligned tires cause similar issues as tire imbalance, such as uneven and premature tire tread wear and steering to the side when driving straight. Tire imbalance and misalignment can also be caused similarly, such as by driving into a pothole or in everyday use.

When your tires are misaligned, they can point too much in or outwards. The tire tread surface can also be misaligned with the road surface. Either way, misaligned tires wear out not just in relation to each other but, for example, the inner or outer edge of the tire can be subject to more wear if it is not at an optimal angle. Therefore, both tire balancing and wheel alignment can help you prolong the service life of your tires, and, as a consequence, save money.

Are you in the market for a new set of tires? Nokian Tyres offers all season tires, all weather tires, all terrain tires and winter tires to fit the needs of North American drivers. Find a tire shop near you:


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