Understanding Road Force: Why Do We Balance Wheels?
Have you ever driven along a highway or sped down and noticed a vibration in your steering wheel? This is a sign of a wheel imbalance or a road force variation that causes vibration in your steering wheel.
What causes vibration?
Improper wheel balance can be one of the multiple issues that can cause excessive wheel vibration. A wheel balance measures the top to bottom and left to right imbalance of the tyre and counteracts with weights added to the wheel. This is how to balance tyres.
Another cause of vibration is road force variation. It is caused due to wheels not being perfectly round and uneven tread or sidewall stiffness in the tyres. It affects the steering, traction, braking and load support of your vehicle. Road force balancing was born. This type of balancer performs a traditional spin balance that measures both the wheels and tyre to determine if there are conditions that cause a vibration on the road. Road force balancers do a much more precise job because it measures the wheel and tyre with rollers and it directs the operator to mark the points to be matched.
Why do we balance wheels?
Wheel balancing is important because it eliminates wheel and tyre vibration problems. It also provides a smoother ride at high speed by minimizing tyre bounce. It also improves traction, steering control, and extends the lifespan of the tyres. When there is an imbalance of your tyres, your steering wheel will rock back and forth as you drive. Imbalanced tyres will be dangerous for the driver and its passengers due to the vibration. So it is important to do wheel balancing when traveling to avoid accidents to happen. With this vibration, your tyres are wearing faster than others that will also create stress in the lower ball joints, axles, and other parts of your vehicle. The increase of stress will lead your tyres to wear faster, and you will replace those parts a lot sooner--this is because of the imbalance it has created. The tires will start to wear from the edges and will no longer provide you the grip to drive safely.
It is really important for the vehicle to have proper wheel balancing to ensure the performance and the safety of your passengers. So, when you notice that your wheels are not aligned properly, ensure that you approach a mechanic that you can really trust to fix the issue.