Picture the scene. You’re driving along and gaining speed, when suddenly you feel your steering wheel start to vibrate. It’s a pretty scary experience, because you’re not entirely sure what’s happening. Is your steering wheel about to pop off? Is it the engine?
Actually, what’s probably happened is that your tyres have become imbalanced. In more technical terms, your tyres are no longer rolling smoothly around in a perfectly circular fashion. And it’s something that you need to take seriously.
Here’s what you need to know about tyre balancing.
How tyre imbalances even happen
This type of thing typically happens as a result of uneven tread wear, which is mostly caused by your driving habits. Basically, the grooves and ribs on the tyre tread wear down at varying rates depending on how hard (and how often) you hit the brakes, the frequency with which you do quick turns, etc.
Over time, you wind up a wheel or wheels that no longer turn around evenly.
How to detect an imbalance in your tyres
Wondering if your tyres need to be rebalanced? Apart from the fact that you should get them done once a year, there are a few things that can sound alarm bells.
- A vibrating or ‘fluttering’ steering wheel (especially at higher speeds).
- Your car pulls to the left and right.
- Squealing tyres.
- Decreased driving ease at speeds between 80 – 120 km/h.
- Your car feels like it’s ‘wobbling’.
- Tyre contact with the road surface lessens.
- Strange noises, like a humming that gets louder with speed.
Let’s be honest, tyre balancing isn’t all that common. But when it comes up, you do need to sort it out with the right help. In a workshop, tyre experts will identify the imbalance in the weight distribution of the tyre and rim together around the axles. They can then correct this.
If you ignore this issue, the chassis is subjected to uneven loading and will become damaged.
Do you know what it costs to fix a chassis? A lot. That’s how much. That’s why it’s important not to ignore any of the warning signs we highlighted above and to go for regular checks.
Not only will it increase your driving comfort and extend the service life of your tyres enormously, but it can also help you avoid costly consequences.
There are 2 methods to fix it
Just in case you were wondering, there are 2 ways of rectifying an imbalanced tyre.
Tyre experts can either use specialist equipment to clamp the wheel in a balancing machine and make it run so their sensors can check the tyre profile and the rim for irregularities. If an imbalance is detected, small weights are attached to the rim in specific spots to ensure that the wheel rolls smoothly.
Alternatively, tyre experts use electronic fine balancing, which is when the wheel remains attached to the car during testing. This also allows for any irregularities in the wheel hub, brake drum and disc brake to be detected.
Wheely good cover
The king cares about your tyres, which is why our tyre and rim insurance covers, well, your tyres and rims. We’ll repair your tyres if they’re repairable and replace them if they aren’t. We’ll also fix your rims if we can.
So, damage from rocks, broken glass, potholes, steel, and other road hazards = no problem when you’re with the king. (We’re nice like that.)
Want to find out a bit more about our royal tyre and rim insurance, like what the maximum is that we’ll pay? Click here to get more info or chat to us via WhatsApp (message us on 0860 50 50 50).