Your tire’s “balance” is the weight distribution in each wheel or tire of a vehicle. If the balance of your tires is off, you will start to notice a vibration or wobble at higher speeds. If the wobble is particularly pronounced, it can become dangerous and any vibration through the tires will increase the rate at which they wear. So what causes unbalanced tires and how often should you have them rebalanced?
What Causes Unbalanced Tires?
The leading cause of unbalanced tires is simple wear and tear, but it’s not the only possible reason that your tired might become unbalanced. Driving with poor tire alignment can cause your tires to become unbalanced, as can damaged wheels or bent rims. Unless all four tires are unbalanced, you can normally identify where the imbalance is by where the vibration is coming from. If the front tires are imbalanced, then the vibration will be in the steering wheel. If the rear tires are unbalanced, then you will feel the vibration through your seat, particularly if you sat in the back.
Why Is It A Problem?
The vibration, or wobble, from unbalanced tires will grow over time to the point where it can make your car difficult to steer properly, potentially causing an accident. The vibration from unbalanced tires can also damage your car. Your tires will wear down faster and, if the problem is allowed to continue, it will eventually damage your shocks, bearings and even the entire wheel assembly. This damage is not only dangerous, it can be very costly to fix in the long run.
How Often Should You Balance Your Tires?
If you notice any of the symptoms of unbalanced tires you should take steps to rectify the situation immediately. Not doing so could put you and your passengers at risk. The best way to avoid this risk is to prevent the situation from happening in the first place. A good rule of thumb is that your tires should be rebalanced every 12,000 miles driven or every other time your tires are rotated. Having your tires rebalanced as part of tire rotation is a quick and easy process that could save you from costly repairs in the future.
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