Tire Balancing

tire balancingI just took a short road trip to the metropolis of Brenham Texas, home of the Blue Bell Creamery and we took my wife’s Kia Sedona mini van (full of hungry kids).  On the way there I noticed a pretty severe tire shimmy that was taking place on the highway between 70 – 75 MPH, which is due to an improper wheel balance.

I made a super short video explaining the problem, showing the tire shimmy that is causing the steering wheel to shake from side to side and what the cause and cure for the problem is.

Her tires are new, but even new tires can have a problem and are prone to faulty installation or wheel balancing so just because your tires are new do not rule out the possibility of a wheel balance problem.

If you can drive out of a tire shimmy….meaning the shimmy is present at a certain speed but gets better or goes away at a higher speed then it is most likely a tire balance type of problem. If the shimmy is there at all speeds, it could be a bad tire or a problem with the wheel.

Rarely do we see bent wheels unless the vehicle was in an accident or you severely hit a curb and did so much damage to the outside of the wheel it is physically bent or damaged. For the most part, the tire itself will absorb the impact of the curb and or pothole you hit. That is why it is important to re-balance the tires often, because they take so much abuse.

Also as the tire tread wears down over time, the balance of the tire changes too.

If the shimmy and shaking is felt in the steering wheel it is most likely a problem with the front tires, so try moving those tires to the rear and see if the problem is better. The reason, if the steering wheel is shaking it is because the steering linkage is on the front of the vehicle, so the rear tires have nothing to do with steering linkage.

A tire that is very low on air pressure will also cause shimmy problems because the circumference of the tire has changed from its last balancing. Sometimes wheel weights (actual lead weights that are hammered onto the wheel or glued to the inside of the wheel) will come off. You can sometimes hear a loud bang, like a rock, as the wheel weight comes flying off the wheel and hits the underside of the fender.

Watch as he uses a tire balancing machine, adding wheel weights etc. so you know what takes place

I like to rotate and balance my tires at every 4 oil changes, or about every 12, 000 miles to get the most life out of my tires.

If you don’t see my video below, try refreshing the page. (sorry, not sure why this is happening)  please Facebook like, Google +1 at the top, or leave a review or comment just below. Thank you!

Posted in: Tire Wear

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