Anyone having a problem with wheel balancing ?

allenbillsallenbills Member Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I have a new 2002 2WD Highlander Limited with the upgraded Michelin tires and have 4K miles on it. I drive on a smooth surface 16 miles per work day. I don't usually drive at speeds over 60 mph. Some where about 2,500 miles while on a 50 mile weekend trip. I noticed vibration in the steering wheel acting like one or more of the wheels were out of balanced. I have rotated the wheels once and they have been balanced 3 times. I'm still having vibration in the steering wheel in the 65 to 70 mph range. The balancing has reduced the vibration somewhat, however it is still there. Has anyone else had a similar problem??


  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    First, look to see how much weight has been used to balance each tire. If you see some big weights close to each other on the outside or the inside of the rim, you may have a tire that cannot ever be in dynamic balance at all speeds. That tire would need replacing.
    Second, get the car off the ground and spin the wheels one at a time and watch the circle being made. If the tire bobs up and down as it spins, you may have an out-of-round tire that needs replacing. If the tire moves left and right as it spins, a little is usually okay, but a lot of sideways movement may mean the tire must be replaced.
    I speak from experience, and some of it is very recent! Good luck.
  • simmaxsimmax Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2002 4WD non-limited (b package) purchased in November 2001 with 21,000 KM on Goodyear Integrity tires. I have rotated the wheels once and balanced 3 times also. One of the rear tires seems to be slightly "out-of-round". A replacement tire has been ordered. However, I'm not convinced that this will remedy the mild but annoying vibration I get, not only in the steering wheel, but throughout the vehicle (seats, doors, dash, floor) at highway speeds (120 km/h - 70 mph). I'm disappointed in the way the hl handles/rides at highway speeds. I wonder how much of this is due to the tires?
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    How is your alignment? Are your chassis joints in excellent condition? What is left to check?
  • aortaaorta Member Posts: 14
    Download the PDF file. Hope that helps.


  • mullins87mullins87 Member Posts: 959
    You guys may have some other problem with your vehicles that has nothing to do with the balancing of the tires. But, one thing I have found, there can be HUGE differences in how well one shop can balance a tire vs. another shop. We have one shop where I live that can balance tires no one else can. Maybe it's better equipment or maybe it's a more experienced tech.

    Check those other possibilities, if nothing shows up, have another shop balance the tires and see what happens.
  • nimrod99nimrod99 Member Posts: 343
    The person balancing the wheel is key
    I took my vehicle to a tire shop for 4 new tires.
    Up until then - I had no problems at any speed (80 mph). The new tires + balancing were terrible. At 60 mph, my watch on my wrist was shaking from the steering wheel.
    I went back to complain (but I had secretly marked the weight locations - so I could tell if they re-balanced them). Anyway - they got the manager to rebalance the tires. When I looked at my previous marks to where the new weights were, some of the weights had changed location by at least 6 inches.

    Looks like even a few inches of error placing a weight can cause problems.
  • bretfrazbretfraz Member Posts: 2,021
    I know that the Tundra suffered from defective wheels (i.e. bent) and that Toyota dealers had a TSB on it and were replacing them for customers. Don't know if this affects the Highlander but something worth digging in to.

    If it were me I'd ask some of the local custom wheel/tire shops where they send their alignment jobs to (if they don't do them in house). I'm talking about the places that sell fancy wheels to all the kids with Hondas and rich people with Escalades and the like. A great alignment shop is worth it's weight in gold so it pays to do some prospecting.
  • aortaaorta Member Posts: 14

    Best wheel balancer there is.

  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Coates machines aren't too shabby, either.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Years ago bought a set of Michelin tires from Sam's. Watched the techs do the balancing-they had a huge back log of tires-the tech barely let the tire start spinning before hitting the stop button. On way home the tires were way out of balalnce-next day went to another Michelin dealer. Told them my problem-watched the tech balance these tires-told him to check the balance with the weights on first-he got everybody in the shop to watch the operation-we all had a good laugh.

    No balance problems after they pros did their thing. Don't blame the techs at sam's-they were overwhelmed and probably paid as little as possible. You could have the same experience anywhere-just keep your eyes open and don't let them use impact wrenches even with torque sticks to tighten lug nuts on wheels with disc brakes.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    Good idea to know the condition [runout of your bare wheels][how much it takes to balance just them]. Then mark them with a small punch dot in metal .....then you can judge the error in tires.

    Anyway when you see more than 10 grams of add on weights [0-5 better] on a Michelin you know something is wrong!

    Depending on the rigidity of the suspension and driver sensitivity a 5-7 gram imbalance is feelable. [[we set with a max error of 2 grams]]

    Many wheels/tires leave a typical shop already out of balance! There is a secret coarse switch on most balancers that rounds to the nearest 1/4-1/2 ounce [7-10-14 grams]......make sue you see odd numbers displayed not just 0 or 10 or 20 grams.....0.25...0.50.....0.75 ounces etc!

    If you see your weights are in factional ounces you know you are not getting a precision balance!
    as 2.5 gram [~~1/8 ounces] weights are available!

    What most don't understand is new tires will change in the first 250 miles,then again in another 250, as they set to the not so round wheels. By 1,000 miles they are bent into submission, then by 3,000 the rate of change per mile is pretty constant.....IF they last that long!
    Remember US GOV tests show that less than 1/3 of current tires sold will meet the NEW proposed standards [current standards date back to 1968]! [Only 7% of the S and T rated will].

    The tire industry is spending BIG MASSIVE to defeat or delay new will cost $15 more each since they will have to be stronger!
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    Last year, I was given a set of new Goodyear Wranglers by the Ford Corporation, to replace my 265X75X15 Firestone Wilderness tires on my XLT Ranger. I got the tires from, and paid a local Goodyear company store about $15 each on the 4 Wrangler RT/S tires for road warranty, rotation, and rebalance service, as they were the "cooperating" dealership near me that Ford was using. Upon arriving home, I was dismayed to see massive weights on one rear wheel. Several months and 2000 miles later, the tire had to be replaced under the warrantee as defective. Now my truck is pretty smooth running! I have a jaundice eye on the rest of the tires... I'll be watching.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    In general Michelin uses more expensive [stronger] [a few dollars worth at most] of materials per tire and has very good quality control.....but like all things you pay for it.

    Many people install good tires on bad [excessive runout- not round or parallel] wheels forcing the good tires to conform in ways they may not be strong enough to do. Thousands of the millions of tiny cords [rubber/polyester bands] snap inside as you add driving stress, the overlap tears on the weakest side and the tire get a hernia.....thus the excess weights to balance the internal bulge.

    Any tire that has 60 grams [more than 2 ounces] means trouble but you need to have the wheel checked first [alone no tire] making sure it's in factory spec!

    Tire are only designed to be mounted on PERFECT WHEELS!
    Improper mounting techniques [forcing]not deflating after mounting and reinflating again to stress relieve the bead is a common problem in speed first shops!
    All new tire wheel combos should be tested on a Hunter 9700 radial force measurement machine to make sure that less than 5-10 pounds of [EXCESS] force is being generated at 70 mph [this is what's done at the factory in the match mount process].
  • mike368mike368 Member Posts: 5
    I have an '01 Highlander with Bridgestone Dueler HT's junk tires and I also get a shake at 70 mph. Had the tires balanced and rotated which seemed to help a little but the outside edges of the tires seem to be scalping. Toyota says the alignment is prefect. I spoke w/ Toyota and Bridgestone about the issue extensively but in my situation. As a result, the low-end tires are probably the issue. Talked w/ other owners who have replaced the tires w/high-end SUV tires and the problem went away.
  • fleetwoodsimcafleetwoodsimca Member Posts: 1,518
    My original Bridgephony Duelers on my Pathfinder lasted all of 14,500 miles, and required replacement for tread wear-- at my expense. It now has BFGoodrich tires on it that have lasted double the Duelers, and have a lot yet to use.
  • leadfoot4leadfoot4 Member Posts: 593
    .... nobody has yet to mention checking the driveshaft.
    I bought a 1997 4x4 S-10 back at the end of 1996. It had a noticible "shake" at 55-60 MPH. I took it back to the dealer, they did the usual "quick-fix" stuff and deemed it "OK". Bottom line, it still shook. They replaced the tires (Michelins), truck still shook.
    I pulled the driveshaft myself, took it to the local driveshaft shop for a balance check. The tech there just about laughed his buns off, as the shaft was so far out of whack. (about 0.035" of runout) I told him to make up a new one, but he said it's still under warranty, let GM pay for it.
    Went back to the dealer, told them what happened, they still tried to weasel out of it, and had the OE shaft "balanced" somewhere else. Again, truck still shook.
    I had new shaft made at local shop, paid for it myself, called 1-800 at Chevrolet, threatened legal action, got reimbursed for shaft, truck now smooth as silk.
  • malfaragmalfarag Member Posts: 7
    Hi folks,

    I have a 01 4WD V6. at about 42,000km (canadian Metric system) felt steering wheel shudder at about 110 km (65 mph), took the truck in to the dealer. Told that it was the balancing, they balanced for free, did not fix the issue. had a tech do a road test, he confirmed the shudder. He told me that when Toyota ships the Hihglander potential build up of rust on the front brake discs hub which causes a not so perfect fit of the rims to the hub. This causes the shake and shudder, dealer replaced the discs, viola shudder and shake is gone as not returned. I too have the OEM Goodyear Integrity crap tires. less than average rubber for a decent truck.

    A also had the front door weather seals replaced under warranty due to excessive crosswind noise.

    Michelin cross terrain's will be the next set of tires I have put on. Better lateral grip in all types of weather.

    Good luck to all.
  • skipper53skipper53 Member Posts: 12
    I was experiencing a disturbing shimmy on smooth roads for the first 500+ miles on my 2002 Highlander. Tires were balanced, but problem remained. Then I wisely replaced the crappy Goodyear Integrity tires with Michelin Cross Terrain SUV's. Guess what! The problem is gone. Toyota should be embarrassed to put such cheap tires on a quality vehicle...
  • thewolverinethewolverine Member Posts: 111
    Agreed most Toyota OEM tires are crap - Now I know you can get Michelin as OEM on some Toyota models like Camry but not Sienna and I guess not Highlander.

    I just bagged one set of Firestone rocks on my wife's 98 Sienna and am looking forward to doing the same on my 2001 Sienna.

    Got the Michelin X-One clone from Costco and had the dealer balance and align.
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