Find Balance On The Road
We’ve talked about the necessity of wheel alignment before (read our article on Wheel Alignment by clicking here), but did you know there’s more to the process of alignment than just making sure your tires are straight? There’s another half of the process called “tire balancing” that we’re gonna go over real quick just so you know what’s happening during typical auto alignment service.
What Is Tire Balancing?
In order to “balance” tires, we simply fill all tires with an equal amount of air.
There are exceptions to filling every tire with equal air though. Like when tires aren’t perfectly uniform or for special vehicles that don’t come with uniform tires anyway. But generally, all 4 tires (or however many) should have the same amount of air inside them; ie have same amount of tire pressure (PSI).
Please check your tires before filling them for the correct PSI, but as an extremely broad reference point, most smaller vehicles use tires which need about 30 psi of air; 35 for mid-size; and 40+ psi for larger wheels. But again, never presume and always check your tires or owner’s manual for the correct number.
To learn more about tire balancing straight from a major US tire distributor, you can visit the S & S Tire website and read their post, “What is Tire Balancing and Why is it Necessary?”
The Right Time for Balance
Like getting car alignment, tire balancing is something that typically happens every 6 months to a year, depending on usage conditions. More often for off-roading work-horse types. Of course, tire balancing is typically part of tire alignment so more often that not they naturally occur together but this isn’t always the case. Be sure that getting the tires balanced happens regularly just like alignment.
Some signs you might look out for that warn you that alignment and balancing are necessary include:
- Unusual vibration of the steering wheel, seats, or body of the vehicle
- Note that if the steering wheel is shaking, good chance you need front wheel alignment. and if it’s the seats shaking, then more likely you need rear wheel alignment.
- Substantial and uneven wear on your tires
- Obvious signs of a flat tire
- Especially if you can feel bumps more sharply than usual
If you’re unsure about the need for balancing or alignment, please just give us a call and we’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have. Call us at (530) 826-4275, or if you prefer, Text (530) 828-3007 and we’ll get back to you ASAP!
Why You Need Tire Alignment AND Balancing
Not unlike the way wheel alignment improves control, so too does tire balancing. As a consequence of improving the reliability of your vehicle, it also broadly improves safety, decreases treadwear on your tires, and in the worse cases, may even improve fuel efficiency (when misalignment is so bad that the tires are effectively working against each other). That doesn’t come up too often, but it’s not unusual after accidents for example.
But above all else, the ultimate joy of balanced tires is enjoying a smooth ride. So get out there, get your tires balanced, and then get cruising! We hope this information helps keep your ride smooth and safe. Drop in next time for some more useful information and tips about maintaining your vehicle.