Why do tires need to be balanced?

Very often we come across the term `balancing`when we refer to tires for our vehicle. Ever wondered what this technical term means and how `balancing` is achieved?

In this article, let us take a close look at what is `balancing` and why do tires need to be balanced and how it is achieved for optimum performance.

Static and dynamic balance

Any rotating mass that is pivoted in the center has to have perfect static and dynamic balance in order for the mass to rotate without any wobble or hop. Due to uneven mass distribution during the manufacturing process, heavy spots can occur as in the illustration. When the mass is rotated at higher speeds, static or dynamic imbalance will result in vertical or lateral vibration.

Relating the above condition to a tire fitted to a rim, the distribution of mass within the tire/rim assembly must be uniform for this assembly to rotate without any vertical or lateral vibration. It is important for this balance to be achieved for a comfortable drive and uniform tire wear throughout the lifespan of a set of tires.

Balancing procedure and machine

In order to achieve static and dynamic balance of a tire/rim assembly when rotated, weights are put on to the wheel rim in specific locations to balance the asymmetric mass which must be evenly distributed throughout the tire/rim assembly. Modern day wheel balancing machines measure and correct both static and dynamic imbalance. The tire/rim assembly is rotated at speeds of 300 revolutions per minute or higher and sensors measure the forces of imbalance. The machine identifies the exact spot and size of weight to be used.

Periodic maintenance

As part of a tire maintenance schedule, balancing all the tires of a vehicle at periodic intervals (every 10,000 km) should be practiced without fail. During the course of operation of a set of tires, tire balance can run out. Periodic tire balancing must be carried out in order to correct the unbalance which if left unchecked, will result in uneven wear and damage to the tires. The vibration caused by an unbalanced wheel will also damage the adjoining steering and suspension parts in the long run. An experienced driver will be able to notice an uncomfortable steering vibration also known as steering `shimmy` especially when the front wheels are unbalanced. It is always advisable to carry out periodic balancing instead of waiting for signs of wheel unbalance to show up which may result in expensive steering parts replacement.

Balancing wheel weights

Generally there are two types of balancing weights commonly used on car tire/rim assembly. As indicated in our illustration, they are the clip-on type and the adhesive paste-on type. Depending on the rim construction, both types are used widely for tire/rim balancing. Needles to say that the clip-on type can only be used on rims that have a circumference lip as in the illustration. And the adhesive type wheel weights are usually used on the inside of any present day wheel rim as it fits snugly without obstructing any brake parts during the rotation of the wheel.

Present day wheel weights are made of a zinc alloy or coated steel. They have replaced lead weights to suit the finishing of styled wheel rims used by most manufacturers. Lead wheel weights used to be popular in the early years but discontinued due to environmental regulations.

From the facts gathered on` why do tires need to be balanced`, tires indeed need to be balanced on a periodic basis to maintain a comfortable and smooth drive, to attain a good life span of the set of tires and to avoid any costly, premature replacement of any steering and suspension parts.

Should there be a concern or a question that you would like to raise, I would be most happy to communicate for a better understanding on the topic of tire balancing.





  1. Hello AchuthanN1, this was a very informational site because I drive a SUV with 24 inch rims on it and I have to get my tires rotated and balanced about every 4 months. At first I thought the mechanics were just trying to take my money. But then I realized it really do help with the wear and tire of tire.

    • Hello Marcus,

      Thank you for the comment. I am glad you found this information useful to you.

      There is really no substitute as far as the maintenance part is concerned. Tire rotation, balancing and resetting the alignment are 3 very important aspects to achieve uniform wear and tear of tires on any vehicle. Premature uneven tire wear is to be avoided at all cost.

      Happy motoring.

  2. Hello Nair! Great tire site right to the point this is to cool now i can send my wife here and she can learn a ton of stuff about why we need to do all the things we do to are tires. I used to change tires and i know how important it is to rotate and balance your tires. Thx again Nair and also do you have a post about tires presser it huge and we always get into about this one??


    • Hello Jedediah
      I am elated to learn that you are passing on the information to your wife too.
      About tire pressure, please visit the website page dedicated to tips on tire care. It gives you the guidelines on tire pressure checking and monitoring at the regular intervals.
      Should you need any further information, please feel free to drop by and I will be most happy to be of assistance.

  3. That is a very interesting post on why tires need to be balanced. I never knew the importance of it until I myself ran into problems with that, my car started shaking real bad after a certain speed and I’ve found out that my tires needed balancing real bad. All in all, this post gave me more information and tips on why my tires need to be balanced.

    • Bassam,

      I am happy to note that you found this post informative and useful. From experience, you are able to tell the importance of balancing for tires. Tire care tips such as this help us to maintain our tires properly through out its life span. Thank you for your valuable comments.

  4. And I thought I had a knowledgeable mindset about tires. This is simply amazing and very in depth information. I can tell you really know your stuff. Especially about the every 10,000km part. I will be sure to bookmark and use this site for most if not all of my tire questions and issues.

    • Hello James,

      I am glad you could drop by and pick up some useful information from this article. Thank you for taking time to read and understand the importance of tire balancing.

      Please feel free to visit this site any time as I plan to put in a lot more useful information. If you have a question, please feel free to ask.

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