Are Your Tires Properly Balanced?
Unbalanced Tires can be Dangerous
Vehicles are complex. And they should be; well over 100 years of engineering have gone into them to get them to the point where they are now. Today we get intricate machines that can rapidly move us down the road, protect us in case of a collision, and even change the climate inside of them so that we don’t sweat or freeze. Pretty amazing!
But each piece of technology has to work in harmony. When one aspect gets “out of whack” then the entire machine is put in jeopardy. Since the rubber meets the road, the wheels can often become unbalanced. The result isn’t just an uncomfortable ride. It’s a dangerous one.
Symptoms of Unbalanced Tires
Most of us drive our vehicles every day, or almost every day. So when something isn’t working right, we notice. We may not understand exactly what’s going on, but the ride just doesn’t “feel” right. Here’s what you’re most likely to experience when your tires aren’t balanced right.
Vibrations – Your car should be nice and smooth (when driving on pavement). When you notice things start to shake, bounce, or vibrate, that is an indication that something is wrong; almost always it is unbalanced tires. Sometimes this happens only at certain speed (say highway speeds), other times it is whenever you’re moving.
Decreased Fuel Economy – If you’ve had your car for any length of time, hopefully you’ve checked your miles per gallon (at least once). You know how many miles you can go, you know how often you need to stop, and you can accurately plan a road trip because you know that you can definitely make it to point X but not point Y. A change in that MPG means something is wrong, and it could be your tires.
Uneven Wear and Tear – The biggest sign of unbalanced tires is that they won’t wear evenly. Depending on how they’re not balanced determines the wear patterns. Other issues are under-inflation, over-inflation, and some other mounting problems. Check out this chart to see how the wear on your tires can vary.
Dangers of Unbalanced Tires
It’s easy to see why you want balanced tires: it makes your ride smoother! But it’s so much more than that.
Unbalanced tires don’t wear evenly. Sometimes that wear can be hard to see unless you really get down and inspect the tire. So at a glance, the tire looks fine, but in reality it’s getting dangerously thin where you can’t fully see it. If it goes untreated, the tire is in danger of popping; and often blowouts occur at high speeds when the most pressure is being put on the tires to perform.
For your safety, and for the safety of other drivers, make sure you take your car in to have the tires rotated and balanced at least once every 6 months. The good news: this service is almost always free (if you go back to the shop where you bought the tires).
Bring Dented Vehicles to Big Sky Collision
Here at Big Sky Collision Center, we don’t rotate and balance tires. We fix vehicles that have been in an accident. If you’ve been dented, dinged, bumped, scratched, or worse, bring your vehicle to Big Sky Collision where you will get expert treatment, quality repairs, and peace of mind knowing that your vehicle has been restored to factory safety standards.