Distinct from tire alignment, tyre or wheel balancing refers to compensation for any weight imbalances in the tyre/wheel combination and is often performed in conjunction with wheel alignment. There are two basic types of tire/wheel imbalance that need correction – static (single plane) and dynamic (dual plane).
Static balance addresses balance on only one plane – vertical movement which can cause vibration. A dynamic imbalance, on the other hand, addresses balance in two planes – vertical movement and lateral movement. Both types of imbalance require the use of a special balancing machine to help even things out.
To begin balancing your tyres, a technician will mount them on the correct rims and adjust the pressure to optimal inflation. Then each tyre goes on the center bore of a balancing machine. The machine spins the tire at a high speed to measure the wheel/tyre combination imbalance. It signals how much weight the tech should add to balance out the tire and the areas where said weight is needed.
Tyre balancing is essential for proper tire care for the same reason as wheel alignment: prevention of premature tread wear. Having tyres aligned and balanced every 5,000 to 6,000 miles can help maximize their lifespan and overall performance.