In the automotive industry, fractions can make all the difference. Fractions of a second can be the difference between winning and losing in a race. Fractions of an inch could be the difference between life and death when it comes to braking distance. And, fractions of an ounce could be all it takes to leave your tyres out of balance, causing uneven wear and tear without you realising until the damage is done. It’s all very technical, so allow us to explain just how you can figure out if your tyres are imbalanced.
Scrap Car Comparison helps drivers sell vehicles of all types, whether it’s a van that’s showing its age, or a car on which imbalanced tyres are the very least of its concerns. We’re partnered with scrap and salvage specialists from all over the UK, allowing us to track down the best price possible for your car, no matter where you live. Give us a call on 03333 44 99 50 or use our scrap car price calculator to find out what your vehicle could be worth today!
What Is Tyre Imbalance?
The phrase itself implies that one or more of your vehicle’s tyres are not the same, in some way, as the others. It’s not immediately clear, though, exactly how an imbalanced tyre might be unequal to its partners. Allow us to explain…
An imbalanced tyre is one such rubber hoop that doesn’t weigh exactly the same all the way around its own circumference. For example, if you lay a tyre flat on the ground, the ‘top’ (as you look at it) might be slightly heavier than the bottom, or either of the sides. This causes issues as the wheel turns, with the tyre not rolling smoothly. They can also become misshapen, with a tyre that’s no longer a perfect circle causing similar problems.
While imbalancing is a problem for one specific tyre, it can then have an effect on the others and the smoothness of the vehicle’s journey.
What Causes Tyre Imbalance?
There are a number of factors that can result in tyres becoming imbalanced. Ironically, uneven wear and tear can cause a tyre to become imbalanced. This then can cause the same tyre, or the others also on the vehicle, to become imbalanced further.
Damage to a tyre, wheel or rim can also cause an imbalance. Since the difference around the wheel needs only to be a few grams for an imbalance to be considered a problem, even minor damage should be avoided where possible and checked out if it does occur.
It’s also possible for a tyre that’s previously been rebalanced to lose its balancing weights and revert to its unbalanced state.
What Are The Symptoms Of Unbalanced Tyres?
If you’re wondering what will happen if your car’s wheels are unbalanced, we’ve got you covered. Figuring out that you’ve got an unbalanced wheel or two can be tricky, because the most obvious sign won’t involve your car’s wheels or tyres at all. In fact, if you notice a vibration in your steering wheel or seats, it could be linked to your tyres not being balanced and therefore not rolling smoothly on the road.
Of course, another way to confirm this problem is to simply examine the tyres themselves for any noticeable areas of baldness or damage. Remember though, that an unbalanced tyre could only be a few grams out of line with the rest, so an issue might not be visible to the untrained eye.
Is It Safe To Drive With Unbalanced Tyres?
Unless your tyre imbalance is extreme, it could be considered safe to drive your vehicle. Significant damage can be done to the car over time, to the point where it could become unsafe to drive much more quickly than you’d expect. Tyre wear will be accelerated and could result in their treads being worn down far sooner than you’d think. At best, this might mean a failed MOT, but at worst, the consequences could be fatal – stopping distances are massively increased on tyres with poor tread.
It’ll also be a bumpy ride if you’ve got imbalanced tyres, and like with wheel alignment, whilst the severity of this shouldn’t leave you struggling to control your car, it can wear down your suspension at a faster rate. Once again, this is likely to only cost you in repair fees, but if you don’t realise how far gone your springs or bearings are, something could give out at 70 miles per hour…
How Often Do Tyres Become Unbalanced?
The average car should undergo tyre balancing every two years, but if you regularly drive over rough terrain (like the pothole covered roads of the UK) then it’s advisable to push this forward by 12 months. Getting your tyres rebalanced every year can be a good idea if your wheels are subjected to bumps and humps on the road surface more often than the average vehicle.
How To Rebalance The Tyres On My Vehicle
Unfortunately, it’s not really a job that can be done at home – not accurately, anyway. We’ve already stressed the differences that minute weight differences can make when balancing tyres, and we need to do the same again here.
A machine is required to precisely measure the weight of each part of the tyre using a series of vibrations. Once heavier or lighter spots are identified, small weights can be added to other areas of the tyre to level out the weight around the entire circumference of the wheel.
The process as a whole requires dismantling the wheel, so it’s not something that can be done without proper mechanical training.
If the problems with your car aren’t quite as minuscule as a few grams missing from a tyre, and you’re ready to offload it, get a quote now from Scrap Car Comparison. With a network of scrap and salvage specialists that spans the whole of the UK, we’re able to get you a top price for your vehicle and even collect it for free! Whether it’s old, unwanted or totally broken, we’ll find you a buyer so give us a call on 03333 44 99 50 or use our car price calculator and find out what you could earn today!