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Tyre balancing

Increasing the service life of your tyres

Have you ever been driving your car at high speeds and felt your steering wheel suddenly vibrate? Do you know why this happens? It is caused by your tyres being unbalanced. But what does this actually mean?

Mechanic balancing a car wheel on an automated machine checking the readout on the digital display before adding the weights

Ideally, the weight of the tyre and the rim, together forming the wheel, should be evenly distributed around the axles. If this is not the case and the weight distribution is uneven, you then have what is known as an "imbalance". This becomes noticeable on the move because your car tyres do not roll "roundly". If the chassis is permanently subjected to uneven loading, it can become damaged.

You should have your tyres or wheels balanced regularly to make sure you always have a good driving feeling and to ensure your safety.

Our Expert's Advice:

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Strictly speaking, only a wheel, i.e. the tyre and the rim together, can be balanced. But people usually call this "tyre balancing".

How do imbalances occur?

Tyre imbalances usually occur when the tyre tread wears down unevenly. This is mainly due to the individual driving behaviour. Severe braking manoeuvres, fast cornering etc. all contribute to the grooves and ribs on the tyre tread wearing down at different rates. The result: The wheel no longer turns evenly around the centre of rotation and an imbalance occurs.

In this case, it means: go to the garage that you trust! The imbalance must be compensated for by adding weights to the rim in order to literally balance the wheel and prevent the profile from wearing down any faster.

When should you balance your tyres?

Basically, you should have your wheels checked for any irregularities at least once every year. There is no fixed formula for when tyres should be balanced. However, it is absolutely necessary when new tyres are mounted on your rims. Balancing ensures that your wheels always run smoothly and flawlessly. Balancing is included as part of the service of fitting of new tyres in all garages. If you notice abnormalities in the handling of your car, such as noticeable steering wheel vibrations, then it's time to balance your tyres.

An imbalance in your tyres can be detected through the following signs:

  • A vibrating or "fluttering" steering wheel
  • Decreased driving ease at speeds between 80 and 120 km/h
  • Tyre contact with the road surface lessens

Our Expert's Advice:

Barum Expert with friendly Gesture

Take the opportunity to have your wheels checked for imbalances every six months when changing from summer to winter tyres.

How are tyres balanced?

Even if you like to have a go at things yourself, it is not recommended to try to balance your tyres by yourself. This should only be done by professionals who have the specialist equipment. After all, it's for your safety, driving comfort and the mileage of your wheels.

Garages usually use the stationary method for balancing tyres. This is done by clamping the wheel in a balancing machine and making it run. Special sensors check the tyre profile and the rim for irregularities. If an imbalance is detected, small weights are attached to the rim in specific spots. They ensure that the wheel rolls smoothly.

An alternative to the stationary method is electronic fine balancing. With this method, the wheel remains attached to the car during testing. The advantage here is that any irregularities in the wheel hub, brake drum and disc brake can also be detected and eliminated. 

What are the advantages of having your tyres balanced?

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Let's be honest: Tyre balancing is not common. Nevertheless, it is very important to check the car wheels regularly for possible imbalances, both for your safety and for the sake of the entire chassis.

Regular checks will also increase your driving comfort and the service life of your tyres enormously. It can also help you avoid costly consequences such as damage to the wheel bearings.

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