In my article called “Wheel Alignment vs. Rotation..What’s The Difference?” I talked about what a wheel alignment is and how it differs from a tire rotation. Alignments, rotations, and balances should be a somewhat regular thing you get done on your vehicle. In fact, an alignment and speed balance are always performed when you purchase new tires. Every car is different but usually if you hit a lot of pot holes, or drive a car that tends to bow in, you will have an alignment and rotation done you will probably do at least an alignment, maybe even a rotation. If you drive German cars, rear tires tend to bow in more which requires them to be rotated more often.
Like I’ve mentioned before, if you feel something shaky check your tires first. Since you know all about alignments and rotations, let’s get familiar with the term Speed Balance 🙂
What Is A Speed Balance?!?
Your tires will not be 100% balanced all the time, which is actually O.K. Balancing tires is the process of making sure all four tires are evenly distributed throughout your vehicle to help with vibration and smooth driving. Some manufacturers build their cars to have a slight angle on the tires which means, in time, you will have to balance, align, and rotate them. Again, that is O.K. and nothing is wrong with your vehicle.
Now, if you start to feel those vibrations and notice something is way off, especially at higher speeds, odds are you need a speed balance. During a speed balance, the tires and wheels are put on a machine that will reenact driving. The tires are set against a smooth roller that will turn quickly while removing kinks and uneven weight. Luckily now, everything is done via the computer so we can get very accurate details. If the tires need more weight, weight is added and vice versa. Each tire will have a “heavy” area from normal wear and tear of driving. During the speed balance, the machine will keep running until the weight is distributed throughout all four tires. This will help stop the vibration when you drive over 60mph.
How often should I get a speed balance?
Good questions! If you are driving at around 60 mph and feel a lot of vibration then I would take your car in and have your mechanic perform the balance. If the car is wobbly, not just slightly shaking, then you probably need an alignment or rotation.
To be safe, especially if you live in the city with potholes or drive super fast all the time, it is good to have a speed balance every 2 years.
To perform a speed balance you will need the proper equipment. Most dealerships will have it in their shop, and if not then I am sure they know someone who has this machine. Watch the video below to see what it looks like!