Tyres & Wheel Balancing
Page last updated June 18, 2007



Tyre Shops

When you get your wheels balanced, you may not be surprised to learn that most tyre shops are pretty rough with your wheels, and not too careful about one of the main reasons for your visit - balancing!

Firstly - if you have Alloy wheels then although clip on wheel weights can be used - always try to get the shop to fit stick on weights. These will sit in the back of the rim behind the spokes - so you won't see them.

When they fit new tyres or valves, try to find a shop who will let you check the wheel rim for corrosion - or ask them to check for you. If your tyres have been deflating slowly then suspect this as the cause. Old alloy starts to tarnish, and when in the tyre bead area it can cause air leaks as the tarnish lifts the rubber and gaps appear as the tarnish starts to drop off/powder. If any is found rub off with some emery paper (80 grit will do) and then ask the tyre fitter to apply the tyre soap on the area so an airtight seal is more likely to last.

When your wheels are balanced, you will almost always find the fitter puts on a few weights. This is ok as the wheel may require more than one a side, but you may be surprised to learn that most machines have a "fine" setting...which indicates the weights that are needed to the nearest gram. The normal weight test goes to the nearest 5 grams - so if 3g is needed in one particular point the machine will say 5g. Although this will work, and the slight difference won't be obvious, it is something that if done properly could make your tyres last a little longer, and also fuel economy could be improved.

In addition, I have tried rebalancing a part worn tyre that I balanced to zero grams (i.e. exactly balanced according to the machine). Interesting to note that the tyre wear had caused the wheel balance to go out again. The weights had not fallen off and the wheel had not been damaged. This shows that balancing is perhaps more important if you want to get your car set up as good as you can for economy, performance & comfort.

Do you have any questions regarding tyre fitting or wheel balancing? If so, please e-mail for advice.