If you are a car owner, you must have a satisfactory answer to this question, how often to balance tires. You must know that if your car wheels are not in perfect harmony, you may be subjected to unsafe driving conditions, due to uneven wear and vibration of the tires. For an optimal driving performance, your car tires must spin around with the utmost evenness.
What is Tire Balancing?
As the name suggests, it implies that all the four wheels must be perfectly balanced in weight, for a smooth drive. Due to the friction, the tires lose some extent of their original weights, differently, thus giving rise to the need for balancing.
Effect of Tire Imbalance
Because of asymmetric mass distribution in different wheels of your car, you will experience ride disturbances, due to the hopping or wobbling of your car. The vibration may be either vertical or horizontal. When you increase the speed of your car, the effect of the imbalance will be more conspicuous, and it may excite the suspensions of your car.
Remedial Measures for Imbalance
Your car mechanic mounts the wheel onto a road force balancing machine and spins it to find out the points responsible for wobbling. He then adds required extra weights, in the shape of small lead pieces on uneven sides of the wheel. He uses adhesives or clips to fix the weights, for counteracting the heavy spots.
Symptoms of Tire Imbalance
If you experience the following abnormalities while driving, you must be alerted to get your car tires, proper balancing
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- Vibration of steering wheel when you are driving at highway speeds
- Vibration of floorboard or seat, while driving at highway speeds
- Identification of a wearing pattern, known as Scalloped cupped.
Importance of Tire Balance
Different portions of your car tire undergo tread wear, leading to uneven distribution of your car tires and wheel assembly. As a result, you experience a potential vibration in the steering wheel, floorboard or seat. By balancing the car wheels, you get the following benefits
- Increased longevity of your car tires, due to reduced tread wear.
- A smooth and comfortable drive
- Reducing the chances of any accident due to skidding, wobbling, and hopping
- Less maintenance cost of retreading your tires
- Regularly rotate, balance facility and replace all the tires at the same time, otherwise, you may have to change the front wheel tires earlier.
Frequency of Balancing Car tires
There are a number of external factors that cause an imbalance in your car tires. Therefore, the frequency of balancing varies. However, the following are certain rules of thumb that prompt the need for car tire balancing.
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1. Manufacturers’ Manual
Every car tire manufacturer indicates a definite running distance of your car, based on certain standard or ideal conditions. One manufacturer indicates a wider range, varying between 5,000 from and 7,500 miles. Through the speedometer of your car, you can find out the distance traveled and accordingly, go in for balancing.
2. Fixed Periodicity
Some car tire manufacturers offer free lifetime rotation and balancing. You can avail this facility whenever you detect any symptom of tire imbalance. If not, you can go in for balancing every two years or yet earlier, if your car moves on rough or ill-maintained roads. It will be better to have it along with the oil change of your car.
If you are required to drive frequently on icy or snowy roads, tire chain, also known as snow chain is a must for you.
Function of Tire Chains
Tire chains are attached to the drive wheels of your car. It swings automatically. You can buy them in pairs, available in steel and other materials. The chains must fit the diameter and tread width of your car tires. By using tire chains, the fuel efficiency of your car may come down, and you can’t drive at more than 50 km/h. But, if you use one of the best car tire chains, you can drive smoothly on snow or ice, with an increased traction and braking.
Common Chain Failures
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- If your driving speed increases from 30 to 50 km/h
- If you drive on dry roads for an extended period, then there is also a chance of your car to slide while you put your brakes.
- You must tighten the chain well and after driving for some distance, recheck it for the second time. If not, the chain may wrap around the drive axle of your car.
- You will be required to use tensioner or adjuster for holding the tire fast. If not, the chain may fail
- If you install the chain on the non-drive wheels of your car
- If you accelerate too rapidly, the tires may spin and may put more stress on the chains, causing them to fail
- In the case of the chain breaks, it may cause severe damage to your vehicle by wrapping around the axle. It may be even severe on the brake lines of your car.
You can choose the car chain that gives you the advantage of cost, traction, smoothness of riding, ease of installation, durability and the recommended travel speed. You can choose any material according to your suitability. It may be steel, in the form of cables or links, rubber, polyurethane or fabric.
As a prudent car owner, you must be aware of the time to replace car tires. This ensures safety and relief at the time of emergency. The following are few of the tools, which you must always carry with your car while driving out.
- Life Hammer: In case your car is overturned, the life hammer will help you in cutting through the jammed seatbelts or in breaking the car windows. It has a luminescent pin that can help you in case of darkness or dim light.
- Kobalt Multi-Drive Wrench: It has a rotating spline with a fixed socket, and you can use it for different sizes of nuts and bolts
- Smithy Recovery Strap: This 30 ft long and 3 inches wide strap helps with towing of your car
- Leatherman Wave Multi-Tool: It includes two pliers, knives, wire cutters, files, a saw and a multi-bit screwdriver.
- Schumacher SC-1200 Speed Charger: It can boost your car battery, faster than your average portable battery charger.
Now, we are sure that you are all ready to set to balance your car tires; share our views with people across so that they may also benefit from the information. Happy driving!