While often forgotten about, wheel balancing is a valuable service that is necessary for the consistent performance and efficiency of your car. There are a number of things that can cause a car’s wheels to lose balance, with lost wheel weights caused by sudden impacts or damaged suspension components being among the most common reasons.
Even though wheel balancing is a common procedure that can be required any number of times during the period you own the vehicle, the effects of imbalanced wheels can end up costing you money unnecessarily if left unattended.
When you buy tyres from CJ Autoparts & Tyre Centre we always make sure that your wheels are properly balanced before you leave the centre, or you can come to us if your wheels need to be re-balanced at any point.
What is wheel balancing?
Wheel balancing helps compensate for minor imperfections in the wheel and tyre assembly; even though you may not be able to detect it from visual inspection, minor inconsistencies across the entire surface of a wheel can become noticeable when spinning the full weight of a wheel at hundreds of rotations per minute.
This is done by counter-balancing the weight bias of each wheel. Put simply, this means that if one part of a wheel has additional weight on it, the same amount of weight is applied to the other side of the wheel to keep it evenly balanced, like having two equal weights on a set of scales.
Wheel balancing ensures that a wheel’s weight is even as it rotates; an imbalance or bias at any point on the wheel can cause the wheels to wobble when moving at high speeds.
Though similar, wheel balancing is not the same as wheel alignment.
What causes wheel imbalance?
Loss of wheel weights is the primary cause of poorly balanced wheels because it means that the wheels no longer have an even weight distribution. Wheel weights can become lost from a sudden impact on the wheel, this is often enough to knock the weights out of place, and lose their balance.
As such you should have your wheels checked after any sudden impact on the tyre, such as a kerb, pothole or large enough stone. The tyres should also be checked when they look abnormal or routinely every 10,000 miles to ensure they are performing to the best of their ability.
What are wheel weights?
You may have noticed counter-weights installed on the wheel of your vehicle. These counteract the effects of imbalance by regulating the overall weight across the wheel. A common way for wheels to become imbalanced is for a car to lose one or more of its wheel weights.
We have some of the latest wheel balancing equipment , meaning that should your wheel lose a weight we will be able to detect exactly the right area on the wheel that each weight should go and provide weights down to the nearest gram for complete ride stability.
Issues caused by wheel imbalance
If left unchecked, incorrect wheel balance can cause excessive wear to suspension components and tyres due to the increased vibration and uneven road treading of your vehicle. Additionally, the imbalance increases your car’s rolling resistance, which could ultimately cause your car to use more fuel. Wheel imbalance can also adversely affect braking distances as well as steering sensitivity.
Ride comfort will also be significantly reduced when a wheel has become unbalanced; this is often the first sign that you may notice anything is wrong. When driving at motorway speeds, you may notice a juddering coming from the steering wheel or a distinct reduction in ride quality.