Having your tyres balanced is important not only to the longevity of the tyre, but to the safety of the driver and the performance of the car.
What are the dangers of unbalanced tyres?
Unbalanced tyres cause road vibration, which leads to driver fatigue, premature tyre wear (also known as cupping or dipping), and unnecessary wear to your vehicle's suspension.
When should tyres be balanced?
- When they are mounted on wheels for the first time.
- When they are remounted after a repair.
- At least once a year.
Tyres should also be rebalanced at the first sign of a vibration or shimmy.
The cost of keeping your tyres balanced will more than pay for itself in tyre mileage, performance and comfort.
Regular Tyre Rotation
The weight of a vehicle is not evenly distributed to all four car tyres. Therefore, regular rotation is necessary to maintain even tread wear and ensure you get the most out of your tyres.
There are several methods of tyre rotation.
Tyres from the rear axle are moved to the drive axle and crossed to opposite sides of the vehicle. The tyres from the front axle are moved to the rear, but remain on the same sides. This is known as the 'modified X' pattern, and applies to most vehicles on the road.
Tyres with directional design
These tyres, for example the Goodyear Eagle F1, are rotated differently. All tyres remain on the same side of the vehicle and are rotated straight forward and straight back.
It is recommended to switch all four tyres, both from side-to-side and in axle position.
Check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tyres should be adjusted every 10,000 kilometres. However, 4WD tyres may require rotation as often as every 4,000 kilometres.
The first rotation of your tyres is the most important. Be sure to remember to adjust inflation pressures to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations after every rotation.
Visual Vehicle Inspection
Often, discovering potential problems for your tyres is as simple as giving them a good visual once-over. Here are some simple vehicle checks you can do regularly.
- The next time you check your air pressure, scan your treads for any sharp objects that may have punctured your tyres. Even if the puncture is not deep enough to flatten the tyres immediately, the cracking and pitting caused by smaller punctures can eventually worsen and lead to problems down the road.
- Check the wear patterns on your treads. Excessive shoulder wear can indicate under-inflation, while wear to the centre of the tread can mean over-inflation.
- Look for the wear indicator bar. Many tyres have tread wear indicator bars moulded into the tread. When the tread is worn down to where you can see a solid bar of rubber across the width of the tread (the wear bar), it is time to replace your tyre.
If you’ve spotted a problem with your tyres or if you feel you need to invest in new tyres, be sure to take your vehicle to your nearest Beaurepaires retailer.