November 22, 2020
Balance, rotate and align. Do you know the difference?
A wheel balance should automatically be included with any new tyre purchase (unless it’s on a trailer, then it’s optional) To balance a wheel it’s put on a machine that spins it to find the heavy and light spots in the tyre and rim. Wheel weights (either stick on or bang on) are then added to balance the wheel. If your wheel balance is out you will notice a shudder through the steering wheel generally around 80km/h. Balance beads are another option commonly used in truck steer tyres and in some of the larger more aggressive 4WD tyres, these are small glass or ceramic beads that spin around inside the tyre and find the heavy/light spots in the tyre as it’s rotating on the vehicle.
Rotation is rotating the position of the tyres on the vehicle (front to back/side to side) regular rotation (approx 10000km) helps the tyres wear evenly.
Wheel alignment, this is adjusting the suspension of the vehicle where the vehicle attaches to the wheels. This is done to help tyres wear evenly and the vehicle to drive straight on the road. Camber, caster and toe can be adjusted (although not always all 3 on all types of vehicle). Camber is the inward or outward angle (top to bottom) of the tyre if looking from the front of the vehicle, Caster is the angle of your steering axis when viewed from the side of your vehicle and toe is the angle the tyres are on left or right if you were looking from above.
Regular balance, rotation and wheel alignments are the best way to get the most life out of your tyres and the best handling from your vehicle.