Truck wheel balancing, also known as tyre balancing, is an important part of fitting new tyres but may need to be done periodically throughout the life of the tyre as there are a variety of factors that can cause an imbalance on a wheel, such as tyre wear.
Why do wheels need to be balanced?
The act of balancing a wheel ensures it rotates smoothly on the axle with no wobble. The balance of a wheel can change as your truck's tyres wear, after tyres are rotated and also when new ones are fitted.
There are often small weight differences between tyres so what worked for one wheel, may be out on another when tyres are swapped over.
What are the symptoms of an unbalanced wheel?
If you haven't balanced your truck tyres for a while, you may start to notice vibration through your steering wheel. You might also feel like your truck is a little bouncy and unsettled as you drive down the road. The heavier your truck, however, the less likely you are to feel this.
If you experience any of this and you know it's been a while since that truck had its wheels balanced, you should take it to be looked at immediately.
An unbalanced wheel not only affects how your truck drives but, if left, it can negatively affect tyre wear, suspension, and steering components.
Wheel balancing for trucks is especially important, simply due to the amount of wheels some trucks have. For example, an articulated lorry can have upwards of a dozen wheels and the combined effect of those wheels not being balanced correctly could render the truck undriveable.
For more information on the truck tyres and balancing services available to keep your vehicle running smoothly, take a look at Bush Tyres' range of commercial tyre services.
What is truck wheel balancing?
The art of balancing a wheel involves a machine that spins the tyre to determine where the weight imbalances are. The mechanic in charge will then place small weights on the opposite side of these imbalances in order to even out the weight distribution.
These weights won't be obvious, as the imbalances are often very minute.
There is another type of truck tyre balancing called road force balancing. This is a little more involved and features a roller that applies pressure to the tyre as it's spun. This simulates how the tyre would perform on the road. It gives similar readings to a traditional spin balancer but you'll get additional information such as pressure and tyre roundness.
The benefit of this method is that the machine can detect how the tyres need to be moved around on the wheel. This is known as match mounting and helps eliminate vibrations caused by radial runout (deviation from perfect roundness, which can be found in both the wheel and tyre).
The result of using a road force balancer is a more precise set of information that requires less weight to fix.
When should you get your truck tyres balanced?
All good tyre suppliers and fitters will balance your truck's wheels when a tyre is changed. It is important to get the right balance for the specific tyre being fitted, as it may be different to the one that just came off.
Your tyres should be rotated regularly to keep the wear even on all sides. Check the manual for your truck as this can vary from model-to-model. Many tyre manufacturers suggest rotating when the tyres are a quarter of the way through their expected mileage, others give a set time schedule and some people may prefer to go on how worn individual tyres look compared to others.
When you take your truck to have its tyres rotated, a wheel balance will be done again as standard.
The only other time you need to think about truck tyre balancing is if you feel a change in how your vehicle drives. Look out for that distinctive wheel wobble, which will be felt as vibration or bounce.