Balancing tires ensures that the weight on a tire is evenly distributed throughout the tire. Not correctly balanced tires will cause vibrations and wear down parts faster than usual.
Truck tires should be balanced every one or two years, depending on how much you drive your truck. You should also balance them if you install brand-new tires or replace your wheels. Doing so is also recommended after hitting a pothole at high speed.
In the rest of this article, I’ll explain in depth what tire balancing is, how the process of balancing the tires works, why it is necessary, and what can go wrong if you neglect to properly balance your tires.
What Is Tire Balancing?
Tire balancing is when your entire wheel is mounted to a machine that measures the weight distribution of the tire to detect irregularities or imbalances. Once the whole tire has been scanned, the technician can add weights to the tire to ensure the tire is balanced correctly.
The technician balances the weight distribution of the tire by applying small adhesive weights. These weights can be put in discrete locations as long as they balance the weight. The technician will probably run the wheel on the balancing machine more than once to perfect the balance.
The process is so seamless that it may seem unnecessary, but having it done regularly can save you lots of money on tires and regular maintenance. Having all four of your tires balanced gives you a smoother ride and prevents vibration that can cause damage.
How the Tire Balancing Process Works
The most reliable way to have your tires balanced and ensure perfect balance is to go to a local mechanic shop or a tire service center. They have the equipment to measure imbalances accurately and offset them.
Most mechanics use a technique called dynamic balance. They put the wheel in motion and scan the tire with a computer that can measure vibrations in a grid-like pattern covering the tire from side to side and up and down.
Mechanics use a machine called a Computer Wheel Balancer to do this. These machines are incredibly accurate and quick to use. The computer finds areas where there is excessive vibration.
Weights are added to the area where the vibration occurs. The computer shows the weight of each half of the tire to achieve perfect balance. Computer wheel balancers are easy to use, and professional mechanics can balance all four of your tires reasonably quickly.
Balancing your tires by a mechanic may cost you money every year or two. But think of it as an investment in your current tires. Balanced tires have much more longevity than unbalanced tires allowed to wear unevenly.
Why Is It Necessary to Balance Your Truck Tires?
Properly balanced tires are essential if you drive a larger, heavier vehicle like a truck or SUV. These vehicles have large, heavy wheels that create more force when they aren’t correctly balanced.
This extra force means the tires will wear unevenly very quickly. This effect compounds as the tires get larger and heavier. This is why it is imperative to have correctly balanced tires when driving a truck or an SUV. Especially if you have large aftermarket tires.
Driving on large tires that are improperly balanced can affect the overall shape of the tire and could possibly make it unusable due to deformity. If you have modifications like a suspension lift kit, the uneven wear and the vibrations of imbalanced tires can also affect your suspension.
Imbalance tires seem small on the surface, but they can cause significant issues in other areas of your vehicle. Vibration is never a good thing. Constant vibration from tires that aren’t balanced speeds up the aging process of your tires, your suspension system, and your CV joint.
Excess vibration can affect most of the steering system. If your tires are badly imbalanced, you will likely feel the slight vibration in the steering wheel. The vibration would be most apparent at highway speeds.
What If You Neglect to Balance Your Tires?
If you still don’t go and get your truck tires balanced and leave them the way they are, you’ll have to purchase new tires soon. As I said above, truck tires will wear down faster than other tires because of the force created by their size and weight.
The tire will break down quickly if it has an aggressive tread. If you have mud tires on your truck and frequently drive on the pavement, you need to have your tires balanced to give them a chance of surviving more than a year. The tread will be destroyed if the tires are left unbalanced.
Tread destruction is not only bad aesthetically, but it’s also hazardous. If you allow imbalanced tires to degrade, the tire will be nearly bald in certain areas. This is incredibly hazardous when trying to stop quickly on even dry pavement. In any wet conditions, your truck may slide, and you could lose control.
The tires won’t perform the function they were designed for at all. What used to be mud tires will no longer have the big knobby tread used to grip and crawl through mud or snow. They’ll be useless off-road.
The tires will be nearly useless in general. Tires that are unevenly worn and misshapen aren’t safe to use in any conditions other than perfect weather. If you take them off-road, there’s a high chance that you’ll get stuck. If you drive in the rain, you will slide all over the road and potentially cause an accident.
Truck tires definitely need to be balanced. Some even recommend that you have tires balanced according to wear on the tread each time the tires are rotated. This may seem excessive but will definitely extend the life of your tires, and that attention to detail will save you money in the future. As I said above, balancing your truck’s tires is a small investment in the tires.