Auto tires are the interface between the road and the car. They offer safety and protection while you drive on the road. Hence, they must receive premium care and utmost attention before they get worse.
Common symptoms of unbalanced tires are Vibrations, Steering Problems, Uneven Tire Wear, Bad Fuel Economy, Bad Shocks, and Bearings. Interestingly, for most car owners (and those who don’t own cars) and drivers, brand new tires are usually seen as flawless and should give you a smooth ride. Older tires, in turn, are thought to be prone to faults and other defects.
The truth is, all tires are not 100% perfect. Yes, even the new ones. Your car may look saintly and perfectly fine, but then you go on a ride and it feels like your entire car is vibrating or like a wheel will fall off. If you ask your mechanic, his diagnosis will indicate that your tires are unbalanced.
What feels like a smooth ride, is a result of the even weight distribution of your car across all tires. To help you understand the issue of unbalanced tires, we’ve put together this article.
Just before we delve into the various reasons why the tires of your vehicle can become unbalanced, let’s take a look at what it means to say that your tires are unbalanced and what signs to look for when the condition arises.
Symptoms for Unbalanced Tires
Cars usually give different signs or indications of problems. If you run out of engine oil, a sign will come up. Your gas is almost finished, you get a heads up. With unbalanced tires, it is the same case. Some different signs and symptoms indicate unbalanced tires.
This one I like to call “the shakes”. One of the first indications of unbalanced tires is the feeling of vibrations as you hold the steering wheel. You could easily notice the vibration when there’s a slight weight change.
Yes, uneven and rough roads can cause your cars to shake as you drive on, but when you notice that the shaking is getting to affect the core of your body, including the muscles and sometimes key internal organs, you will need to check the brake rotors.
The vibrations can get so serious as the tires wear further, causing your entire vehicle to feel it as you drive. Also, vibrations could be an indication of a wheel assembly problem or a damaged tire. Either way, fixing the problem before it gets worse is essential to avoid accidents.
- Steering Problems
With unbalanced tires, there is bound to be steering difficulty and some delay in how the steering wheel responds. And without the ability to steer properly in a particular direction, accidents may occur.
Don’t forget, there is a close interconnection between the wheel, the tires, and the steering system. What this means is that a problem in one will automatically affect the others. When there is a vibration in the hand as signaled by the unbalanced tires on your car, the steering is one of the first victims.
Although, a buildup of contaminants in the steering system can cause the system to shake, don’t neglect the urge to inspect the tires. You’ll notice that you won’t be able to maneuver your vehicles as you should, especially when you get to bends and turns.
- Uneven Tire Wear
There is a chance that your car tires will begin to experience uneven wear at the circumference once they are unbalanced. Your tire treads can be very useful indicators of how well your tires are balanced.
Noticeable uneven tire wear can be a result of unbalanced tires or other wheel or steering issues. Driving around with tires that are wearing unevenly can cause you to have an unexpected flat, or in severe cases where a tire has already worn too thin, it could rupture spontaneously while you’re in transit. This can be a dangerous experience.
Rotating the tires before you can afford to buy new ones can be a temporary fix, but even the new tires would need to be balanced.
- Bad Fuel Economy
Driving with unbalanced tires means that your car would not function as effectively as it used to. The imbalance puts more stress on your engine, because of the resistance. Because your engine will try to use more power to keep things moving, it will require more fuel to function.
If you notice that your car takes up more fuel than usual, you may need to check your tires and see the conditions of their thread. There’s a likelihood that they’re unbalanced.
- Bad Shocks and Bearings
The wheel assembly of a vehicle with unbalanced tires is put under a lot of stress. As a result, the shocks, bearings, springs, and other parts experience more wear-and-tear than a fine-tuned vehicle.
Fixing your unbalanced tires will be a wise and cheaper option, compared to a wheel assembly repair.
Unbalanced Tires: Common Causes & Fixes
One of the common causes of unbalanced tires is worn from daily use. Also, there are cases of factory errors or normal manufacturing imperfections. All tires and wheels are not perfectly the same.
Another reason could be the weather you’re driving in. In cold temperatures, the cold air can cause your tires to deflate to the point where you are driving with unbalanced tires.
Lastly, the loss of wheel weight is also a common cause of unbalanced tires. This typically happens when you hit an uneven terrain while driving at high speeds.
The most common fix for unbalanced tires is a re-balancing done at a repair shop. With the help of machines, your tires are measured for imbalances. In case of an imbalance, there will be a re-balance to adjust the weight or the technician could add more weights to correct the problem.
Although unbalanced tires may just be discomfort in its early stages, more serious cases could be dangerous. So, if you feel like your tires are not balanced properly, you should get it checked out and fixed as soon as possible to avoid more problems.