Having your tyres balanced is important not only to the longevity of the tyre, but to the safety of the driver and to the performance of the car.
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. Tyres should be balanced when they are mounted on wheels for the first time or when they are remounted after a repair. They should be rebalanced at the first sign of a vibration or shimmy, and should be balanced at least once a year.
The weight of a vehicle is not evenly distributed to all four tyres. Therefore, regular rotation is necessary to maintain even tread wear and get the most out of your tyres.
Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tyres should be adjusted every 10,000 km’s. Four-wheel drive vehicles may require rotation as soon as every 4,000 km’s. The first rotation of your tyres is the most important, and be sure to remember to adjust inflation pressures to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations after every rotation.
Often, discovering potential problems for your tyres is as simple as giving them a good visual once-over. 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 as well. Excessive shoulder wear can indicate under-inflation, while wear to the centre of the tread can mean over-inflation.
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.