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Wheel Balancing - When first try doesn't work

gchernya1gchernya1 Posts: 43
edited March 2014 in General
Couple of thoughts about wheel balancing:
Have them check ream of suspected wheel it's may be bent out of round and most balance equipment wouldn't catch it if damage not to big, it can be fixed. If you have difficulties with new or almost new tire it may be no good and needs to be replaced. As of the size of the tires, you probably driving GM large(performance) sedan and those cars not that reliable as they use to be and wheel bearings is worth checking. If you stuck with one out of balance tire - use it as spare, or at least on the rear axle - less impact on driving this way. And at last, you can make intervention in balancing process, freak out and make them to do it your way. BTW don’t let them use impact wrench to install alloy wheels(to remove it’s OK).
Good luck.


  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    gchernya1 -

    Thanks for your input. Actually, the tires are on a brand new Diamante, much more quality and precision than a GM sedan. True, it may be possible I have a bent wheel or other non-tire defect, but the way to find out is to get a proper balance job done first. I think the problem I am having is due to the fact that the dealer only does a "quick and dirty" balance job. That's probably the same at most tire stores. I need to find a shop that can do precision balancing.

    I really agree with you on the impact wrench comment. Go to News & Views conference and see topic 291, first message. If you read all the messages there, you need to then jump to Maintenance, topic 14 where the conversation picks up again.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    Before you take any swipes at G.M. precision, you might note that my Z28 Camaro has P245/55/ZR16 goodyear radials on alloy rims, wider, lower profile than yours, the highest speed rating, and I have never had balance problems with them. When balance alone does not take care of highway vibration, there are other factors to consider. Usually, its when tires are out of round, or there are tread separation problems. Tires are vulcanized, or cured under heat and pressure. The result is not always perfect. You are correct that wheel weights should be applied to the inside, or the outside, or both to get the best balance. The reason some people put them on the inside only is for aesthetics. Rim weights come in increments, while stick-on weights can be cut to any weight, but they can also get knocked off easier since they stick on with foam backed adhesive tape.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    I said tread separation when I meant to say "ply" separation.
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    My tires are Goodyear's too. Eagles.

    I found an excellent web page on balancing at

    I suspect one of my tires is causing the problem. It has twice as much balancing weight as the others. They put it on the rear, but that is no solution since I will rotate it to the front in 5,000 miles.

    I am considering putting the spare on the alloy wheel and retiring the tire that needs the extra balance weight to spare duty. Thank goodness the spare is a full-sized one and I only have 2,000 miles on the car.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    If the tire is defective, get it replaced by your dealer under the new car warranty. Don't get saddled with it. If your problem is real, and you make your dissatisfaction known, they might replace them all, and I think that they should.
  • gchernya1gchernya1 Posts: 43
    As discussion develops let me remind you that presence a lot of weihts on the wheel may be the sign of bent ream. When they balance, they cover wheel with cover for sufety and can miss even large bent. Balancing stand can call only for more weigts, and that what they aparently did.
    Have speciality shop check the suspected ream. My suggestion is to turn to a place which sells aftermarket alloys, they might have some expirience with it.
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    The wheel with the most weights has 2.25 oz on it. Usually anything under 3.0 oz is okay. I think that precision balancing is the answer. I'll check out the stores that sell aftermarket alloys. Hopefully, they will have more expertise than a general tire store.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    The last time I had a frustrating balance problem was in the '70's. I had a 240-Z Datsun with Dan Gurney alloy rims. Everything was fine until I replaced some rubber bushings holding the rack-and-pinion assembly to the uni-body frame. I went to a harder compound to reduce play, and give a tighter steering feel. It certainly did that, but also made wheel balance more critical. I had the tires on balance machines all over town looking for the highest precision. Ultimately, what worked best was having them balanced on the car. This meant they jacked up one corner, spun the wheel up to speed, then used a strobe light triggered by a vibration sensor to freeze the action, and get a location to add a wheel weight. After that, it was trial and error by the operator. On repeated trials he would add more or less weight until it was balanced. This method worked best on that car, but remember, it was the '70's. Computer balance was in its infancy.

    The next time I owned a sports car was two years ago. My fourth generation Z-28 Camaro had the awesome LT-1 275 horsepower engine, and an equally over-performing chassis considering it was live axle in rear. It came with nitrogen gas charged shocks, rack and pinion steering, factory alloys and P245/50/ZR16 Goodyear Eagles. It's tight, on-center feel and steering response I could have only dreamed about when I owned that Datsun 240Z.

    If ever a candidate for balance problems, I would have thought the Camaro would be it. But no. I took it to Goodyear. Computer spin balance, puts weights on inside or outside depending on what computer says, I drive's perfect.

    So I'm inclined to believe, still other factors are at play. Out of round tires, ply separations, bent rim, warped rotor cannot be ruled out.
  • bcathcartbcathcart Posts: 54
    Out of round is a serious problem with some tyre and suspension set up's.In the mid 1970's I set to investigate 'lumpy' low speed running on Jaguar E types,the problem was easily identified as tyres out of true roundness. this can be caused by harsh acceleration or brake usage, but we used new tyres,carefully balanced both statically and dynamically ,run in carefully from new to temper the tread then rechecked for balance.the problem persisted.A cure was found by fitting the new tyre to a slave wheel and simply grinding it true against a cutting tool much as any circular object might be trued up on a lathe.Much of the problem was down to suspension compliance.On ordinary shopping cars with lots of suspension compliance and wooly handling the problem did not arise as the large amount of rubber simply absorbed the out of true forces.On a tighter sports car set up, particularly those of low unsprung weight the problem was made much worse. Changes to tyre and wheel combinations was found to help.Some alloy wheels are unevenly cast and will balance initially only to lose it as the bad wheel causes uneven tyre wear.The best combination on jags I found was the Borrani offset wire wheel and Avon tyres this gave a perfect balance and ride due mainly to close manufacturing tolerances.Factory test and press cars usually went out on trued up wheels and tyres to avoid adverse reports on ride quality.Two things always surprise me-the low number of customer complaints on this,and the fact that it is still happening after all these years.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    Vivona, the above are all good comments. I would like to stress that you are quite correct in your belief that two-plane balancing is necessary to achieve dynamic balance. If your shop has some idea that the job can be done with weights on one side only; these folks are mistaken and you clearly need to go to another shop.

    I don't have Mitsubishi specs but the max allowable radial runout for a Honda aluminum wheel is 0.7 mm (new) or 1.5 mm (used). Max axial runout for the Honda is 0.7 mm (new) and 2.0 mm (used). I recall an old Ford spec for radial runout of the tire; 2.0 mm maximum. These are probably worth checking.
  • jeffreyjeffrey Posts: 17
    Lots of accurate comments above. Absolutely true that the best balance is a dynamic balance via computer with weights on the inside edge and on the 'outside'. However, with gorgeous, high-dollar, light-alloy* wheels, 'outside' turns into 'as outside as we can get while putting them just inside the spokes of the wheel so we don't have to see them'. My experience with several sets of light-alloy wheels is that this is almost always quite good enough. VIVONA--make sure the shop you use CLEANS the wheels before balancing them and also duct-tapes the stick-on weights on. Cleanliness is critical to the retention ('sticking') of the weights (and the tape). As an example, my tire guy was assembling and balancing the Pirelli 275/55R17s on brand-new 17x8-1/2 wheels for my new Jeep GC. He cleaned (with some liquid cleaner) the wheel to put on the weights while I was taping them and installing on the Jeep. One weight fell off while he rolled it to me--and this was with a new-and-then-CLEANED wheel. OF course, he cleaned it again and it stuck. ALSO, if a tire/wheel requires a lot of weight to balance, ask the technician to partially dismount the tire and rotate it on the wheel 180 degees. The high-weight requirement probably is being caused by the heavy part of the tire being in the same rotational spot as the heavy part of the wheel.

    One vehicle I couldn't just balance was an '87 Mustang with 225/50R16s on 16x7 2-piece light-alloy wheels. These tires had to be trued (ie cut round) to be vibration-free.

    *--since steel is an alloy, ALL wheels are 'alloy' wheels. So...aluminum and magnesium wheels are 'light-alloy' wheels.
  • avs007avs007 Posts: 100
    Have the person balancing your tires, check the cone they are using... Many "light" alloy rims have different inner/outer diameter measurments, thus requiring the right cone be used to balance, otherwise the cone will be holding the rim by the wrong edge, thus misbalancing your tire.... There are TSBs about this from many manufacturers...
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    Hi, I'm the guy that started this topic. Here's an update:

    I checked all rims for lateral runout and they were within .004". The spec is .040", so they were well within spec.

    I took the car to a Goodyear dealer (the tires are Goodyear and still under warranty). They found two of them have treads that wobble. They have ordered me two new tires (free, under warranty) and I will have these installed soon.

    A third tire showed excessive radial runout. The tire store said the alloy wheel had excessive radial runout and needed to be replaced. The way they checked the radial runout was to hold a stationary bar against the inside of the wheel and rotate it. It made an irregular scraping noise as a low spot passed the bar. I suggested that radial runout should be checked by dismounting the tire and using a dial indicator to measure from the surface the bead seats against. It would seem that the exterior of the wheel is not as perfectly machined as the bead surface. Also, the runout spec is .040 and that is enough to make the scraping noise irregular. They didn't want to go through the trouble, saying they were confident that their method worked.

    Anyway, I had them write that the wheel is out of round on the repair order and I took that to the car dealer and they are ordering me a new alloy wheel (free, under warranty). I will have the wheel replaced and the tire remounted on this new wheel.

    Once all has been done, I will report back the results.

    Interesting note, I had bought Goodyear tires many years ago and all four had tread separation. My brother recently bought a set of Goodyears and they had irregular treads. Out of my set of four, two had irregular treads. What gives? I never had that problem with Bridgestones, Yokohamas or Michelins. Is this another case of import products being superior?
  • avs007avs007 Posts: 100
    What gives? I never hadthat problem with Bridgestones, Yokohamas or
    Michelins. Is this another case of import productsbeing superior?

    You should go to Costco, and talk to the tire guys... The "Kirkland Signature" tires used to be made by yokohama. But after numerous complaints, and after mucho $$$ wasted because those tires never lasted even close to warranty specs, they switched back to Uniroyal Tigerpaws....

    So, not likely....
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    When tires are made under another label, as with the Kirklands, whoever contracted for them sets the specs and they may have ordered up cheap tires.

    So, I can't speak for contract tires made by Yokohama, but I have had two sets of real Yoko's in the past and never had a problem with balance or irregular wear. Got about 60,000 miles on each.

    Bridgestones, same story, except based on wear so far, my wife will probably get the claimed 80,000 on her Bridgestone Turanzas.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    Vivona, I agree that your suggested method of checking wheel radial runout would be best. Some manufacturer's shop manuals show that the check can be made on the inside lip of the wheel (with the tire mounted) but - as you imply - a dial indicator is certainly needed.

    I agree that the method used by your dealer did nothing to quantify the runout; the "scraping noise" could have been very distinct with something less than 0.040". As you indicate, you are lucky that the auto dealer accepted the tire dealer's "best guess" that the wheel was faulty.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    Actually Vivona, I don't think you have cited even one valid case of foreign superiority versus domestic quality. You slammed GM sedans, and now Goodyear tires. Meanwhile you praise Mitsubishi for giving you a new wheel to replace the defective one they supplied you with the radial run-out problem. Isn't Goodyear honoring your warranty too? I think your bias is showing.

    I believe in a previous post it was also suggested you could have a tire or wheel problem, not balance.
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    Quadrunner500 - One only needs to look at the frequency of repair records of Consumer Reports to see how much better Japanese-brand cars hold up, regardless of where they are built. I had owned American cars for years and finally was persuaded to buy a Japanese car, so I bought a new 87 Galant. It gave me 12 years and 110,000 miles of flawless service. I couldn't determine any difference in suspension tightness, performance, handling, ride, etc. from the day I bought it new to the day I traded it. Even the paint looked awesome. Every American car I had owned was noticeably worn out by 100,000 miles.

    When I rent late model American cars, I find trim parts loose, rattles, paint flaws, etc. I have rented Galants and Corollas and they have all been flawless. And I vacation out West where I take cars places the rental company would not be happy about.

    So when one sees industry statistics and has similar experiences to back it up, he guessed it...bias.

    But I can't have a bias about the tires...they're radials. :)

    But this topic is about wheel balance. There are other topics devoted to American versus Imported. So, on to the wheel balance topic:

    Actually, I do not agree that the rim is out of round. Radial runout typically does not cause steering wheel shimmy at 60 mph. Runout problems show up below 40 mph, balance problems above that.

    The fact the Mitsubishi will give me a new rim is just an example of good customer service. They are going to actually give me the rim to take to the tire dealer (at my request) to have the tire remounted. That way I can have the tire dealer verify if it was the rim or tire and resolve the problem all at once. Since I will have the new rim over the weekend, I will mount it on my car and check the runout. Then when the tire dealer gives me the old rim to take back to the dealer, I will try to mount and check it, too. I then will know if it was actually out of round or not.

    As to my comment about Goodyear tires, that was a question based on my own experience. I do not have any industry stats other than to note that Goodyear ranked about average in J.D. Power. Michelin usually tops the list.
  • avs007avs007 Posts: 100
    Make up your mind... JD Power or CR?

    JD Power ranked Oldsmobile as being more reliable and cheaper to maintain than camry and accord....

    Also, CR polls its readers... Now there is a scientific poll if I ever seen one.... (Chicago Tribune declares Dewey as the presidential winner by a landslide, according to a poll.... Too bad he lost)

    It would be better if CR showed how many complaints were submitted on a particular vehicle, along with the number of comments total received....

    If 2 people say the Intrigue's fuel pump died, but only 3 people responded about the intrigue, that ain't saying much...

    You are just biased...

    While I was in college, my GF's 94 Integra GS fried its PCM after only 5 months. My other friends GS-R had an engine replacement... My friends 98 Accord V6 lost its fuel pump with less then 100 ticks on the odometer....

    But these things don't really mean anything.... Just because it happened to my friends doesn't mean it will happen to everyone...

    My old buick has like 170,000 miles on it, and never had any problems... My parents Chevy has almost 200,000 miles with zero problems... Just an ignition module replaced, but that was a 5 minute job... (and technically can be considered routine maintence, as that part is listed under one of the tune-ups...)

    None of our domestics had any problems... I also have a 99 Lexus ES300, and its sunroof decided to freeze shut, and is less than a year old... Its also not getting anywhere near its EPA rated fuel economy, while my GTP is continuing to get BETTER than the EPA rated fuel economy, (which happens to be higher than the ES300's EPA economy)

    Anyways, its extremely hard to prove/disprove import/domestic superiority/inferiority... Its pretty much even ground right now...

    Also, paint is very dependant on how you care for it... My cars have excellent paint jobs... I take care of it... I wash it, wax it, polish it, clay it, etc etc... When I went to the dealer for whatever reason, be it Performance Parts, or whatever, my 1 year old car lustered and shined more than the cars in the showroom...

    Also, my friends grandpa... He never takes care of the paint... Its sad... He has an E320 Merc that had all its paint flake off... His idea of a car wash is taking a hose and a rag to the car... Its pitiful.... He just got an LS400, so we're trying to get him to take better care of the car...
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    Whoa...This topic is about wheel balance, not American versus Japanese. If you want to debate that issue, I recommend Topic#1299 in the Sedans conference. There are over 300 messages there. Read and debate there to your hearts content, but let's stick to wheel balance here.

  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    Let us know, please, Vivona, how your balance/vibration situation sorts out with respect to tire and wheel runout amounts ...when you do get it right.

    "...I can't have a bias about the tires; they're radials...." Enjoyed that!
  • avs007avs007 Posts: 100
    But didn't you start the domestic/japanese thing with your post on domestic tires vs imported tires? It somehow migrated from there :)
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    I got my rim from the dealer and mounted it on my car (without the tire) to check it out. Lateral and radial runout were all within .004 and the spec is .040, so the new rim is within 10% of spec. We are talking the thickness of a piece of paper or a coat of paint. I'd say the new rim is quite perfect.

    Now...I decided to measure the current rim (tire is mounted on it) at the same place that the tire dealer did: from the inside edge. I got .002 runout. I'd say that was excellent. I rechecked lateral runout and it is within .004, same "perfect" measurement as all the other rims.

    So why did the tire dealer think the rim was out of round. I noticed that they mounted it on the balancer using a cone on the inside and a large disc on the outside. I say that would allow the rim to not seat perfectly centered, causing the illusion of an out of round rim.

    I go back to the tire store tomorrow morning for the tire replacements. Now I have to convince them that they need to hold the rim with two cones so that it centers on the balancing machine shaft. Now I wonder about the validity of all they have done so far.

    I will report the results.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    I concur that choice of balancing mandrel or "cone" is important. Avs007 provided an excellent precaution in post #13. Hopefully, your tire shop has the specific cone choice for your wheel type.

    I think it's unlikely that two cones would provide the proper setup; two cones could conceivably allow the plane of the wheel not to be perpendicular to to the axis of rotation. As avs007 indicates, the cone must center on the appropriate machined part of the wheel; an incorrect cone could cause centering on a shoulder of the cast wheel which has not been machined for that purpose.
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    Went to the tire dealer. Had them mount the LF tire, still on the original rim, in the balancer with the flat flange against the inside hub surface and the cone on the outside. Well, what do you was perfect this time! Glad I didn't just let them use the new rim. Mitsubishi would have charged the dealer when they got back a perfectly good (but used) rim on a warranty exchange.

    They mounted the two new tires on the right side and rebalanced the LF tire, all using the proper mounting on the balancing machine.

    End of story? Nope, still have a vibration. It's either the original LF tire itself or something in the drivetrain. It's not the engine or torque converter, the balance is the same regardless of gear. I can even put it in neutral and no change in the vibration.

    When I get some time, I will put the two new tires on the front and see if that makes a difference. I will also check the drivetrain to see if I can find anything that contributes to the balance. I will also go to the dealer and drive a similar car. Remember this vibration is slight and maybe it is just a characteristic of the drivetrain. A resonation of the parts at a certain speed.

    Mitsubishi has graciously allowed me to hang on the new rim for a couple of weeks while I check thing out just in case I do find a rim problem. They also are checking the national service records to see if anybody else has reported a vibration problem.

    Question #1. If I jack up the car with both front wheels off the ground and check for a drivetrain vibration, would that be a valid test, or would the axles be at too severe an angle with the wheels at the bottom of their suspension travel?

    Question #2. I can't find any specifications for axle or CV Joint runout. Anybody know what a reasonable runout would be?

    Question #3. This car was made in August and I bought it in December with 31 miles on it. That means it sat in inventory for a few months (this is a very low volume car due to zero marketing). Could the tires have flat spots from sitting such a long time?
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    #1 - I think you should try to place jack stands under the front suspension so the cv joints are at the proper angle. You might get a false vibration just from being at the odd angles otherwise. Otherwise definitely a valid test. It's one way of diagnosing a driveshaft problem on a rear wheel drive vehicle.

    #3 - Flat spots are not usually a problem on radials as they are on bias ply


    Another topic somewhere it was stated that if you feel a vibration through your feet through the floorboard and body, but not the steering wheel, you can rotate a wheel from the back to the front, one at a time. If doing this causes your steering wheel to vibrate, you have isolated it.
  • quadrunner500quadrunner500 Posts: 2,728
    You may find someone to balance the wheel on your car. This balances the hub, rotor, and driveshaft along with the wheel and tire.

    Or it might be the method for identifying which corner of the car has the vibration.

    You take a strobe light that gets triggered from a vibration sensor, and spin the wheel on the car using a floor jack and an electric motor. The strobe light freezes the action, allowing you to see where to put the wheel weight. The vibration sensor itself can measure the amplitude in units like inches per second. Just compare to the other corners.
  • dtillmandtillman Posts: 1
    Many of the tips were correct but all missed this possible solution. I bought a set of Michelins for my 95 Buick Regal GS. The orginal equip Goodyears GA's were great but didn't last long enough. The Michelins were good but there was a slight vibration. I took it back and they were re-balanced. The car still had a slight vibration.
    I took it to another branch of the same chain. They were re-balanced again. It still had the shakes. I took it to a third branch. Finally, the car didn't shake. The difference: the other two shops' balance machines were out of calibration. In the haste to make money in a short period of time, many shops don't take the time to check the balance machine itself. Before you give up, try another shop.
  • heron15heron15 Posts: 2
    I have a 94 Toyota pickup with 80k miles that seems to have an incurable front-end shake at 50 - 55 mph. I have taken the truck to 2 Toyota dealers and a Firestone service center. I've had the tires replaced, the brakes re-done, the bearings re-packed, the tires balanced and the front-end aligned multiple times. Each visit results in the same result...the mechanics agree that there is still a shake but don't know what's causing it. The new tires that I put on are cupping on the shoulders and the rotors feel like they've warped again. The truck is used for very light duty commuting, mostly highway, and it's never been in an accident. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I could resolve this problem? Thanks.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    I presume that the ball-joints, tie-rods, shock absorbers, and other steering and suspension components are in good order.

    I can't be sure of the problem, but if the above components are OK, the re-warping of the brake rotors within a short period of time sounds suspicious.

    Suggest that you check for a brake that's not quite releasing all the way. It may be applying sufficient force to heat up and warp the rotor but not so much that you notice the drag. After driving a few miles with very little braking, stop and check the temperature of each rotor with your finger to see if one or both are "much too hot" to touch. Be careful! If too hot, it could be due to a bad caliper cylinder or master cylinder.
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