When it’s time to replace your old tires, the new ones will need to be mounted and balanced correctly for optimum driving safety.
Your first instinct might be to call a professional. But it’s completely possible to take this task on yourself!
If you have an understanding of mechanics and want to save some money, you can learn how to mount and balance tires at home. Read on for a comprehensive guide.
What Is Tire Mounting and Balancing?
Before we dive in, let’s look at the definitions of mounting and balancing your tires. What do these terms mean, exactly?
The term “mounting” means fitting the new tires onto the rims before attaching them to your vehicle’s axles. You can mount tires without a tire mounting machine, but it will require significant strength and effort.
The word “balancing” refers to the process of making your wheels aligned so that there are no wobbles or vibrations. A wheel is in alignment when its center of gravity is the same as the axis of rotation. Another way of explaining this is to say that a wheel is balanced when the wheel and tire weight is distributed evenly around the axle.
You will need the right equipment – a balancing machine – to achieve wheel alignment. Though it’s also possible to balance tires without a machine. While you can align tires without a machine, this process takes longer and is less accurate.
Professional technicians use spin balancing machinery to assess wheel balance and identify where the wheel is out of balance. The machine runs a series of diagnostic tests on the wheels while they spin in the air.
When the machine shows where the wheel is out of alignment, a technician will add tiny weights to the wheel rim in particular places to even out the wheel’s weight distribution.
Road Force Balancing
A technician can also use a machine that simulates how road force acts on the tires to evaluate if they are in alignment or not.
A large roller is pressed against the tires to ascertain this. The machine then works out any deviations from the perfectly round shape of the tire. Some say that this technique can pick up misalignments that spin balancing cannot.
The technician can then put weights on the tires to align them.
What Happens if Wheels Are Not Balanced?
If you do not balance your wheels effectively, you will notice a vibration through the vehicle at around 40 to 45 miles per hour. The shaking will only get worse as you accelerate, meaning you’re in for an uncomfortable ride.
Wheels that are misaligned can also cause damage to your vehicle and cost you money in unnecessary repairs. The tires will wear down unevenly, and other vehicle components such as shocks and wheel bearings may be damaged or compromised.
Consider checking: How Often Should Tires Be Balanced
How to Mount and Balance Tires at Home — Step-by-Step Instructions
Ready to get started? See below for our step-by-step instructions.
You’ll need a mounting machine, lubricant, pliers, and an air compressor.
- Lubricate the tire and wheel edges.
- Install a valve stem if there is not one. Use pliers to insert into the hole in the rim’s interior.
- Place the rim on the mounting machine face up and engage the hydraulic press function by pressing the appropriate pedal.
- Place the tire over the rim at a 45-degree angle.
- Bring the mounting arm down onto the rim to get the tire over it. Make sure it fits snugly.
- Rotate the rim using the machine. The arm will fit the bottom bead over the rim’s top edge.
- Guide the arm to fit the top lip over the rim. You may need a pry bar to help with the fitting.
- Rotate the rim again, and the arm will press the upper and lower beads over the rim.
- Add air with an air compressor. Refer to the owner’s manual for the recommended psi.
You’ll need a tire balancer, wheel weights, a jack, a flat-ended screwdriver, and a lug wrench.
- Remove any old weights from the wheels.
- Take wheels off the vehicle.
- Wash or dust dirt off the wheels.
- Place the wheel on your balancer and wait for diagnostics.
- Make marks where the machine indicates you need to add weights.
- Check on the machine again and keep adjusting until the machine shows the wheels are aligned.
- Check each wheel in the same way.
- Once the wheels are all aligned, you can fit them onto your vehicle.
The Bottom Line
Mounting and balancing your tires is not that complicated. If you have a fair knowledge of and interest in vehicle mechanics and you’re willing to make the necessary purchases, then it is certainly doable.
Otherwise, if it’s not your thing, you’ll be much better off visiting your local tire shop.
Did you find our guide helpful? Then consider checking:
How Long Does It Take To Balance And Rotate Tires
How Long To Mount And Balance Tires
How Much Does It Cost To Get Tires Rotated And Balanced
How Much Does It Cost To Mount And Balance Tires
How To Tell If Tires Are Unbalanced