This type of balancing was common in the 1970’s but went out of style when faster and easier to use computer balancers became the norm, and custom wheels as well as front wheel drive cars made on the car balance much more difficult and time consuming. Depending on proper maintenance, operator error, and proper calibration, most computer balancers do anywhere from an adequate to very good quality job that is well suited to the needs of most cars and trucks. There are always exceptions of course, For example: cars (or trucks) with non factory wheels (most of the time non factory supplied wheels don’t fit the car as perfectly as they should, causing an out of round condition known as hub centricity), lighter weight vehicles, cars that are traditionally sensitive such as Acura, BMW and Mercedes, and customers who are ride sensitive. Another advantage of on the car balance is the ability to check the balance BEFORE stripping off the weights and asking a computer to spin a wheel at 24 miles per hour and project how it will ride at 70. Other advantages include; checking for wheel bearing noise and loose suspension parts; a mechanic instead of a tire changer is working on your car and has greater all around knowledge about fixing a problem, or spotting a potential problem; using less balance weight because on the car sees the tire and wheel assembly as a single whole unit and balances with the least amount of weight.
A computer often sees the tire and wheel as 2 separate units (inside and outside) often counterbalancing with weights across from each other. I have removed as much as 12 ounces of weight from a tire that was very close to being in balance, only to find less than 1 ounce in the proper place on just the outside of the wheel produced the same or better results. It has long been my opinion that the least amount of weight possible produces a much better overall result. Another advantage is you are spinning and correcting out of balance brake drums and rotors.
The greatest advantage however in my opinion is that a person instead of a machine is doing the job, and is looking at it as a vibration repair more than just a balance job. If you have ever purchased a set of tires and discovered you now have a vibration problem, chances are your complaint was dealt with by having you wait a few hours, and then have the same guy on the same machine, re-do the same job you weren’t happy with in the first place.
Eventually, you will run out of patience and give up. This method will also often indicate the need for indexing a tire and wheel assembly, wherein the heavy spot of the wheel and the light spot of the tire are matched for maximum efficiency. Wheel roundness and tire uniformity is also checked at this time by a qualified technician. Problems of this nature can sometimes be improved with tire truing. This is a service we offer that cuts the high spots from a tire to make it round. Also a service not offered by many places, many people in the biz in the1970’s and 80’s remember this as a great cure for ride problems. Better quality tires have made this service rare in 2008.
On the car balance is available on almost every car and truck with wheels up to 28” (except many vehicles equipped with 4 wheel drive) Many of our customers use this service with new tires as well as when rotating. They get the best ride, reduce the chance of causing a vibration problem often caused by rotation, and get well above average tire mileage.
Perfectly balanced tires also save gasoline.
Often confused with wheel alignment, a properly balanced wheel is a beautiful, perfectly tuned wheel-tire combination. This is accomplished by placing measured lead weights on the opposite side of the "heavy spot"—the noticeable tread wear on your unbalanced tire.
MF Tire Inc