If your car feels unstable or loose when driving, you might guess it’s the symptoms of unbalanced tires or bad wheel alignment. But how to tell which tire is out of balance or how to check wheel alignment at home? In this guide, we are focusing majorly on some of the best and quick ways to know if your tires need to be balanced.
Tires are the foremost part of a car, and you can’t even move your car an inch if the tires of your car are not on point. Thus, keeping the car’s tires in good shape is extremely important. An out-of-balance tire can not only disrupt the balance of your vehicle but also makes it consume more fuel.
Tire balancing is a sort of tune-up with the vehicle that helps to distribute the weights evenly to all sides of the vehicle on tires.
If you have been driving your car for quite some time now, there are some common unbalanced tire symptoms you might have already noticed. Problems such as fast tread wear, more fuel consumption, or steering wheel vibration while driving indicate that the tires are out-of-balance and need balancing.
However, when the weight is distributed equally on the circumference of the vehicle, you will feel the smooth tire rolling, less fuel consumption, and helps in the long-lasting life of tires.
You definitely don’t want to drive a vehicle with such unbearable symptoms of vibrations and annoying noises. Although, people often ignore these signs, and they keep continuing as it is. Later it causes more damage to tires and vehicles; thus, it could affect your pocket even worse.
Finding which tire is exactly causing the problem feels impossible at times. But no more worries as you have got in here. We have prepared a comprehensive guide on how to tell which tire is out of balance.
Also, if you want to know how to check whether a vehicle’s tires require balancing, what causes tires to become unbalanced, and unbalanced tires symptoms, this post will help you. Check it out now to avoid any big failure while driving.
What Causes Tires to Be Out of Balance?
You must have thought about how do tires get out of balance. Well, there could possibly be many reasons for it. The tires usually become unbalanced when they get old or after prolonged usage in a vehicle. Thus, it could lead to certain issues, vibrations, more fuel consumption, and affect the ride’s effectiveness.
Apart from it, there could be a lot of reasons for signs of unbalanced tires. To avoid any dangerous incident or malfunction of a vehicle, it is essential to notice the unbalanced tires symptoms.
Thus, for your assistance, below are some primary reasons that cause tires out of balance:
Improper Tire Pressure
Have you imagined what causes tires to be out of balance? Well, it could be the improper tire pressure. It is essential to inflate all the tires properly, mostly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, if that one tire has a lower air pressure than the other, it could cause the vehicle to lose its balance and tend to lean towards the tire with less air pressure.
On the other hand, this also applies to the case when you overfill the tire with air. Thus, it is essential to check the manufacturer’s tire pressure instructions to get the appropriate tire pressure limit to avoid unbalance to damage to the tire.
Damage Wheel or Bent Axle
A damaged wheel to the axle could be the sign of unbalanced tires. Although, whenever you might notice the suspension issue in the steering wheel while driving; and it could be due to the damage of the wheel or bent Axle.
For instance, if your vehicle has a broken or bent axle, it can cause the tire to be unbalanced and uneven tire level as the others. Thus, it will result in difficulty in handling the steering wheel, produce noises, and most importantly, cause the tire to be out of balance.
Worn Out Tires
While driving, tires usually come in contact with the tarmac or hard road surfaces, which results in tires worn out quickly. Worn-out tires are usually Irregular in shape, and it could also cause an imbalance in tires.
Thus, it is vital to go for tire rotation if you notice worn-out tires. It will likewise help regain the proper tire balance and increase the tire’s life for an extended period. Moreover, it is advisable to check the tire’s inflation that it is at the right level.
Improper wheel Alignment
Improper wheel alignment could be one of the signs of unbalanced tires. Wheel alignment is basically the tweaking of your car’s suspension system, and it also aims towards the angle of tires when they touch the road surface.
Thus, improper wheel alignment could cause unbalance in weight and put more pressure on affected tires; hence, it could cause worn-out tires and unbalance. Although, it is the foremost task to check the wheel alignment to avoid any wheel balancing issue.
The Weather Conditions
Another answer to What causes tires to get out of balance? Yes, the Weather conditions affect as well. The weather condition is another sign of unbalanced tires, especially in cold climatic conditions.
In cold weather conditions, the air particles in the tire get contracted, and hence, more contraction of air particles causes deflation of the tires. However, this situation could vary from tire to tire, with some tires being more impacted than others, and thus leading to the imbalance.
However, the extremely hot weather conditions also cause unbalanced tires. As roads often overheat due to harsh sunlight, and while driving for a long time, the hot road surface would wear out the tire and cause an unstable situation.
Loss of Tire Weight
Loss of tire weight could also be the possible reason for tire imbalance, as the weight of tires maintains the proper balance and stability of the vehicle while driving.
The tire weight could be lost due to hitting a speed bump at high speed without hitting the tire into a pothole, which can affect the weight of tires. Thus, the affected tire with weight loss issue could deflate or deform the tire and lead to the disbalance of wheel and tire unbalance.
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How to Tell Which Tire is Out of Balance (Symptoms of Unbalanced Tires)
As of now, you must have got to know what causes tires to become unbalanced. Yet, now it is essential to note down the out of balance tires symptoms. The unbalancing process of tires could happen gradually within the time, or also depends on how much it got driven from starting.
It is somehow difficult to identify the unbalanced tires without proper inspection, and symptoms of unbalanced tires may also be related to other factors. Thus, checking the signs of unbalanced tires requires a keen eye so that you can’t miss them.
Whereas below are some of the frequent and essential symptoms of out of balanced tires, and quick ways to know if your tires need to be balanced;
If somehow you are feeling or detecting some unusual vibrations in the car’s body or even in the steering wheel, it could be due to two reasons: uneven roads or Unbalanced tires. However, if the road surface looks good and clear, then the only reason could be left unbalanced tires.
In the case of unbalanced tires, the vehicle’s weight is not evenly distributed on all sides of tires. Thus, the affected tire could cause a vibration when contacting the road surface while driving. This rotation of the affected tire puts uneven force on the road’s surface and, hence, the same irregular force will be faced by the car while driving and cause vibrations.
Whereas you can even try to increase the car’s speed the more you feel the vibrations. The vibrations could be from the steering wheel, clutch, brake pedals, or from the whole car’s body. So, it would be best to examine this symptom in case of such a problem.
Difficulty in Controlling the Steering Wheel
It could be the other symptoms of unbalanced tires when you struggle to maintain or control the steering wheel. The unbalanced tires automatically reduce the smoothness of steering wheel control and lead to difficulty controlling the wheel while driving.
Whereas you may also encounter vibrations in the steering wheel while driving due to the unbalanced tires. Hence, it will be challenging to drive smoothly, and vibrations might irritate you.
Moreover, the situation can worsen and lead to more response timing of steering on the road and result in accidents. It is enough to acknowledge the symptom and fix the issue quickly.
Uneven Tire Wear Patterns
You must have changed any specific tire as it got worn out throughout a particular time; in such a case, it could cause uneven shape or different tires from other car tires. Thus, this uneven wearing when you notice it, then it could be one of the signs of unbalanced tires condition.
Moreover, if you see that some of your tire threads or strings are getting worn off more rapidly than the others, it could be possible that your vehicle tires are now out of balance.
Thus, it is of utmost importance to have a quick visit to the mechanic for the proper balancing of tires. As we really can’t balance the car’s tires at home due to lack of specific equipment.
Poor Fuel Economy
Another significant symptom of unbalanced tires is poor fuel economy, as you notice a sudden rise in fuel consumption with the unbalanced tires. The reason is simple; unbalanced tires put more pressure on a car’s engine to work with more power, thus with more power, the engine will automatically consume more fuel.
This factor could directly impact your pocket. It could be possible that you might not notice the symptoms behind the more fuel consumption yet still use your car regularly.
The unbalanced tires produce short resistance when driving the car; hence it directly impacts the engine and lowers the fuel economy. Thus, after getting this symptom, carefully examine your car’s tires to fix the issue.
Unusual Noise Coming from Your Car
The engine noises or noise from the car indicates various issues, yet mainly it could be the unbalanced car tires. The unbalanced tire can cause buzzes, wheezing sounds, or hums while running on the road surface. As the tires are connected to the car’s base; thus it is evident that it will affect the entire car’s body and produce unusual noises while driving.
You will also notice an increase in noise as you increase the car speed on the road. Thus, the rotations of tires will increase, and unbalanced tires will produce more noises, which might annoy you while driving. It will result in the car’s parts getting loose with constant noise and vibration.
Vehicle Leaning to One Side
Unbalanced tires could also cause the vehicle to lean to one side. It is the sign you need your tires balanced. You can quickly notice this symptom when you park your vehicle on a level surface. It is also an ideal method to check the unbalanced tires.
Additionally, the car leaning to one side could first cause the steering wheel to push to one side, leading to the vehicle keeping on one side while driving. If your vehicle leans towards one side while moving, it could also cause worn-out tires on which side the car leans usually. Thus it could cost you extra in the end.
Usually, unbalanced tires have problems like deflation and word-out, which could cause the tire to be uneven from the rest of the car’s tires. So, if you find your car slants, it is essential to examine the tires and find out which tire is out of balance.
Bad Shocks and Bearings
Unbalanced tires also lead to bad shocks and bearing while driving. Suppose you want to know how to tell if a tire is out of balance in such a situation. Then inspect the symptom under extreme conditions, such as when the car performs at high speed and takes more load.
The symptom of a rough driving experience is also connected with bad shocks and bearings. The suspension system tries to provide smooth results, yet in the case of unbalanced tires, it struggles to maintain the car’s balance, and you face the shocks and bearings. This could get even worse in bad road conditions.
Moreover, the shocks and bearings will also affect the car’s performance and will decrease the mileage. And more wear and tear of car’s parts. Thus, it is wise to identify the symptom and fix it.
A Rough Driving Experience (Car Pulls to One Side When Driving)
A rough driving experience is one of the ultimate signs you need your tires balanced. It is natural that when all four wheels are not in equilibrium, the rough expertise is the only result you get. The rough driving experiences might include vibrations, shocks, annoying noises, especially when the car is high-speed on the road.
It is evident that an unbalanced tire will hit a different angle on the road surface compared to other tires, producing an uneven balance between the car and the driving wheel. Thus, it could be a rough driving experience due to unbalanced tires.
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How to Fix Unbalanced Tires (Professional and DIY)
Now, if you get to about all the causes that might lead to unbalanced tires and their symptoms, detect the issue of unbalanced tires. Your next move must be how to fix unbalanced tires?
Although, it is even wise to quickly fix the unbalanced tires, as even minor symptoms could cause a severe accident on the road if you ignore them. Thus, it needs immediate attention when identifying the unbalanced tire to prevent any danger.
So, there are two ways you can get your unbalanced tire fixed. If you are more into professionalism and want to resolve the issue professionally, approaching a skilled mechanic is wise a move. However, you can also fix the unbalanced tire at home with specific instructions and tools.
Let’s find out how;
How to Fix Unbalanced Tires Professionally
An expert mechanic or tire professional is the best approach to detect symptoms of unbalanced tires and fix them. A professional will put your wheel-tire units on an adjusting machine individually.
In this case, generally, the tire will spin, and the machine analyzes it to find stiffer spots. It will also measure the vibrations from a specific point of the tire. Then the machine will produce an outcome that will display whether the tire is balanced, and if not, at part to apply the weights.
After that, the mechanic will detect the stiff point of the tire and will apply steel, aluminum, zinc, or lead material, opposite the stiff area. This whole process will take around an hour or even two hours, based on the condition of the tires. However, the extra loads are sufficient to fix a tire out of equilibrium in some situations.
Another thing is to consider the locking wheel lugs. Usually, lugs are around 1.5 heavier than regular lug nuts, and thus, they could pass about 0.5 oz weight to the side of the wheel.
How to Balance Tires Yourself at Home
If you have detected the unbalanced tires symptoms, and you know how to balance your car tires at home. Well, it is not that difficult as it sounds to balance your car tires, and you can easily do it in your garage at home.
Although, there are two ways by which you can balance your tires. Firstly, with the tire balancer and without the tire balancer.
Let’s look into both methods (how to balance tires yourself with a balancer and how to balance tires yourself without a balancer) in detail;
With a Tire Balancer:
First, you need a flat-end screwdriver and a jack to remove the wheel. Therefore, bring your tire balancer to balance the wheel. If you have a regular static balancer, then follow the steps to carry out wheel balancing;
- First of all, remove wheels from the vehicle to put on the wheel balancer.
- Carefully clean the wheel from excess dirt, debris from the tire and wheel.
- Put your wheel on the balancer and spin the wheel in case of a dynamic balancer, and spin it until the tire settles in a stationary position.
- If any spot of wheel tires goes out of balance, use the chalk to mark the specific position.
- To recheck the balance, put the weights accurately
- While spinning, adjust the weights of tires until they stop moving or are in a stationary position.
- Then finally, put back the wheel on the vehicle, tighten the lug nuts, and remove the jack.
Note: It is advisable to read the wheel balancer manual before balancing the wheel. As it may vary from machine to machine.
Without a Tire Balancer:
Now, if you don’t have a tire balancer at home and still want to balance your tires. You need some tools to remove weight from wheels and follow the steps;
- At first, remove the extra weights from the wheel and clean it properly or wash if required.
- Set the weights on the 12 o’clock position and then reverse your car in speed until it starts to vibrate.
- If you still identify the vibration, replace the weights to a 45-degree angle from the previous position.
- Rerun the car at the same speed. In this situation, if you experience the vibration starting speed being higher, then add more weight to the point.
- However, if vibrations are still there, then again, more 45-degree angle and repeat the same process.
- At last, you could easily find the points and add more weights to finalize the balancing process. Then remove the jack and check your results.
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How to Tell If Wheels are Out of Balance [FAQs]:
As of now, the picture is totally clear about the causes of unbalanced tires and what are the symptoms of unbalanced tires. And then how to balance the tires from an expert or at home by yourself. Still, some questions will be stuck in mind regarding the unbalanced tires. Let’s answer to those;
Do All 4 Tires Need to Be Balanced?
You might have often thought about; do all four tires need to be balanced?. However, if you face any vibration issue, it could be wise to adjust all four tires commonly. Because, in such a case, it is difficult to tell which tire is unbalanced and causing the issue.
In situations like punctures or repair, where the maintenance is required to one tire only, only it needs balancing. However, manufacturers also recommend balancing the tires after every 7000 miles for a smoother driving experience.
How Much Does It Cost to Balance Tires?
While taking your tires for balancing, you must have calculated how much wheel balancing costs?. The cost factor could vary from location to location, shops, and depends on how much balancing a tire requires.
Typically on average, all four tires would be from $60 to $120 as it takes around a maximum of 1 hour to balance the wheels. However, if you are looking to balance only a specific car tire, it will cost you a little less, as the mechanic will only need to balance your one tire.
How Long Can You Drive on Unbalanced Tires?
Is it OK to drive a car with unbalanced tires? The answer is clear, as it could depend upon the different situations of unbalanced tires. However, it would be best not to drive on unbalanced tires to avoid any accident and damage to tires.
Especially if you are not aware of the unbalanced tires, it could also cause road accidents due to sudden issues like less control on the steering wheel, car leaning toward one side, or even you could lose your control on round corners of the road due to rough driving experience.
If you drive for a long time with unbalanced tires, it will damage your tires even further, and at last, you need to buy a new pair of tires, which you definitely don’t want to do.
What Happens If You Don’t Balance Your Tires?
You may be asking what happens if you don’t balance your tires? The unbalance of the tire could be caused by damage to a tire or rim, imperfections, and blemishes in rubber.
If you keep driving with unbalanced tires, it could cause issues like rough driving experience, uneven steering wheel balance, vibrations even on good roads. Moreover, in high-speed unbalanced tires, it could cause the loose control of the car that could be dangerous for you.
In short, your whole driving experience would be worse with unbalanced tires and could even cut your pocket with less fuel economy.
Moreover, an unbalanced tire for the long term would also affect the car’s axle as it moves in an uneven direction compared to other tires; thus, it puts much pressure on the axle while moving, and the axle could break suddenly.
How to Tell Which Tire is Out of Balance – Author’s View
In a nutshell, the details mentioned above must assist you with the unbalanced tire issues. Now you can easily examine what causes tires to got out of balance and various issues while driving.
While carefully considering the symptoms of unbalanced tires that you face or experience while driving could help to fix the problem on time. Likewise, you can fix the unbalanced tires at home and even get them repaired by an expert mechanic.
Although, few signs of unbalanced tires are enough to detect the issues: unusual vibrations, vehicle leaning to one side, and unusual noises from the car. Thus, whenever you notice any of this, get your vehicle for tier balancing without wasting any time.
It is wise to spend some amount on balancing car tires, rather than later spending more money on purchasing new pairs of tires or repairing other parts of the car due to the damages caused by unbalanced tires while driving.
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