Wheel imbalance is overlooked until an unfortunate event such as a blown tire occurs, and you're left stranded. There are ways a vehicle communicates that its tires are improperly balanced that can alleviate the probability of unfortunate occurrences. Often, a vehicle's steering wheel may vibrate, or the tire tread may disappear to relay the message of fault somewhere. Read along for a list of the most common signs a vehicle may need wheel balancing.
Over time some repairs will indeed be necessary, and then there are times when things just happen, and the outcome is repair or replacement. When it comes to wheel imbalance, repairs can result from factors such as improper tire pressure, the weather, worn-out tires, loss of tire weight, and improper alignment, all of which can reflect one another. Each of these factors may result in repairs because when the tire pressure in one tire is lower than the other, the vehicle loses stability.
Here is a list of reasons why a vehicle’s wheels become imbalanced:
Low Tire Pressure
Low tire pressure can be due to the weather. In colder months, tires often experience lowered pressure due to the cold air causing the air to become more condensed.
Worn-out tires are often the result of normal wear and tear, but it can also be due to a lack of tire rotation practices during maintenance appointments or the fact that tires can come into contact with rough road surfaces or tarmac. Either of these elements may contribute to tires wearing quickly.
Loss of Tire Weight
Another possibility for improper wheel balance may be because a tire loses its weight, and proper tire weight is vital for vehicle balancing and stability purposes. A lot of times, simply hitting potholes or speed bumps at increased speeds can cause tire weight loss.
People often confuse wheel alignment with wheel imbalance, but they are, in fact, different. If the alignment is wrong, the angle to which the tires touch the road will be uneven, which can cause overly used tires. Improper alignment can decrease wheel balance performance simply because the alignment parts are in place to maintain the performance of the vehicle's suspension system.
Experts say that there are specific indicators that the wheel balance on a vehicle is declining. These symptoms range from issues in the steering column to the shocks and bearings. These factors are reliant on one another and are a part of what makes a vehicle's wheels adequately balanced to get the most of the wheels and tires for a smooth ride.
What are the signs of wheel imbalance?
Balanced wheels ensure that the vehicle's weight is evenly distributed because when all areas of the wheel tire unit are as equal as possible, the wheels will roll smoothly. Here are the most common signs that a vehicle may need wheel balancing service:
- Vibrations in the wheel column are one of the earliest signs that there is an imbalance. As the imbalance consistently declines due to lack of repair, the vibrations in the steering column will increase. Neglect could negatively affect the cabin of the vehicle as a whole if it goes on too long by damaging the floorboards or rear seats.
- Wheel imbalance can also cause steering the vehicle to be more difficult by delaying the steering response time. Loss of control of the vehicle is dangerous to you, your passengers, and others on the road.
- Uneven tire wear is another early sign of wheel imbalance which is why routine tire rotation should be an essential part of maintenance upkeep. Neglect to do so will result in eventually flat or busted tires. This occurring during operation is dangerous for you and others.
- Since unbalanced wheels put more stress on the engine because the engine must work harder to keep the vehicle on the road, it essentially sucks up more fuel contributing to bad fuel economy.
- The shocks, bearings, and other significant components of the wheel assembly system make a ride smooth for the driver and passengers. These components absorb the impact from the road by limiting any swaying or up and down movement during travel. The springs or coils pivot and rotate to create an even ride on both sides of the vehicle. When the wheel assembly system is improperly functioning, it is due to imbalanced wheels, which causes more wear and tear on the tires.
The number one clue of a wheel balance issue is unevenly worn tires or vibration in the steering wheel. Since wheel imbalance can be due to several factors and the vehicle communicates in various ways that there may be the need for professional attention, it is vital to stay on top of maintenance. Routine tire rotations will grant the operator the knowledge from vehicle professionals that wheel balancing service is due!