Wheel balancing is a very important procedure that prevents the wheels and tires on your car from vibrating while spinning on the road.
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Getting a perfect balance calls for the checking of any heavy spots at the point where the wheels and tires meet. After identifying such spots, the mechanics can compensate for it by engaging a good-sized lead weight on the reverse end of the wheel having the heavy spot.
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When Do Wheels Need Balancing?
Your vehicle needs rebalancing every time you replace your tires and have them installed on your wheels. In addition, wheel balancing is needed if you change wheels such as when upgrading stock wheels to aftermarket wheels.
If you ever feel your steering wheel shake abnormally while driving, you’ll also want to have your wheels rebalanced. One of the weights may have fallen off the wheel or it could be another problem entirely but wheel balancing never hurts even if it’s just used for diagnostics.
How Do Wheels Get Balanced?
A wheel-balancing machine simply spins the wheel for about 10-15 seconds to determine if the wheel has the right balance as it rotates. As such, the mechanic can easily identify the right spots to place the weights, which guarantees an evenly rotating wheel on the road.
What Happens When Tires Are Out of Balance?
Symptoms of unbalanced tires include: uneven tire wear, steering wheel vibrations, poor gas mileage, and other things that may cause extra wear and tear on your vehicle. Along with wheel alignments, wheel balancing is necessary maintenance. If you have a bad wheel alignment, the symptoms may be similar.
How Much Does Wheel Balancing Cost?
The average wheel balancing cost ranges between $30 and $100 for all the four wheels of your car. However, it can cost you approximately $10 to $15 per wheel as dictated by your vehicle’s make and model as well as the rates offered by the service provider.
It is worth noting that wheel-balancing services typically have higher costs at car dealers compared to tire shops (Discount Tire, Le Schwab, etc.), Costco, alignment shops, or independent auto repair shops. For instance, you can have your four wheels balanced at a typical tire shop chain for about $15 per wheel. On the other hand, a car dealership may charge you $20 to $25 per wheel depending on make and model.
A thoroughly complete wheel balancing takes account of tire mounting and tire rotation. Tire mounting is the process of placing the tire on the wheel while tire rotation involves changing the specific locations of individual tires on the vehicle.
Doing this ensures that tires wear down evenly because front tires erode faster than rear tires and such a process can incur an average cost of approximately $3 to $12 per wheel.
For instance, for the four wheels, several automotive repair shops charge an average of $40 for balancing, $20 for mounting and $12 for rotation. Alternatively, they charge an average of $48 for a complete tire installation package including wheel rotation, mounting, balancing and installing a new valve stem for the four wheels.
Occasionally, various tire repair shops as well as dealership service departments run promotional deals and provide discount coupons to car owners. You should take advantage of these offers to help you save a significant amount of money on car maintenance.
It’s advisable to stick to one or two shops to service your car as most of them usually give coupons periodically to their loyal customers. Furthermore, some tire stores and auto repair shops try to attract new customers by giving them discount coupons on sign up. You can use such offers to cut down the expenses on car maintenance including wheel balancing.
Related: Average Wheel Alignment Cost
Anytime you experience an irregular vibration through your car’s steering wheel irrespective of the speed at which you are driving at, wheel balancing is often the cure for everything to return to normal. Precisely, the unevenly balanced mass in the tire results in constant vibrations and transfers to the steering wheel through the suspension system. This sensation is known as steering shake.
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