If you’ve ever driven your car and noticed that you get a lot of vibration at certain speeds then the chances are your wheels could need balancing! Very often the car will be fine under the trigger speed and you can often “drive through it” by increasing your speed.
This vibration occurs because one section of the tyre has become heavier than the others. A small imbalance on a front tyre is enough to cause a noticeable vibration in the steering wheel, usually occurring between 50 -70 mph. To balance a wheel, it is mounted on a balancing machine which spins the wheel to locate the heavier part. We then compensate for the heavy part by attaching a lead weight on the opposite side. Many people are pleasantly surprised at how smooth their car drives after balancing all four wheels.
Quality tyres tend to hold their balance fairly well and only go out of balance very gradually. If you notice a vibration that wasn’t there the day before, it is possible that one of the balancing weights has fallen off. If you feel the vibration mostly in the steering wheel, the problem is most likely in a front wheel. If the vibration is mostly in the seat, the problem is probably in the rear.
TOWER GARAGE TIP
Any undue vibration from your car should always be checked out as soon as possible. Taking action sooner than later can often prevent a simple problem from becoming a very expensive problem!
Tracking, or wheel alignment, is different to wheel balancing. In a nutshell, wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels themselves so that they are perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other. The purpose of these adjustments is to maximise tyre life, and ensure that the car tracks straight and true when driving along a level road.
Signs that your car may need its tracking adjusted:
- Uneven or rapid tyre wear
- Pulling or drifting away from a straight line
- Car wanders on a straight and level road
- Spokes of the steering wheel off to one side while driving on a straight and level road.
If you feel that either your wheel balance or tracking is out, please contact us for a quick and simple assessment by completing the contact form on the right.