Tire Balance and Rotation

Dear Tracy,

I’ve noticed that tire balancing and rotation are commonly advertised auto services, but I am not really sure how necessary it is to have these services done on my car.  Can you explain what these services are and why they are important?

-Claire M.

Dear Claire,

Tire balancing and rotation are necessary services – you should check your owner’s manual to find out how often service is recommended and make sure you get them done. Here is a brief description of what these services are and why they are important:

Tire balancing is needed because tires and wheels lose balance over time. The weight distribution around the tire changes as the tread wears, leading to an imbalance that causes vibration or shaking. To restore proper balance to your tires your technician will use a calibrated spin balancer.  Both static (non-moving) and dynamic (moving) wheel balance is usually tested. Out of balance wheels are adjusted to the proper balance.

Tire rotation is essential because front and rear tires wear very differently. Tread tends to wear more quickly on the front tires because they are subjected to  more pressure than rear tires. In the tire rotation service process, the front tires are usually exchanged with the rear tires. More often than not, the driver side tires remain on the driver side and the passenger side tires stay on that side. Since types of vehicles and tires vary, in some cases the approach may be different. Your experienced professional technician will know the best process for your car.

Both tire balancing and tire rotation are important maintenance steps to keep up with as they will extend the life of your tires and significantly increase the safety of your vehicle.