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What is Wheel Balancing?

Wheel balancing ensures that your tyres have the car’s weight equally distributed across them. If there is an imbalance in one of the tyres, for example if there is a difference in mass distribution between the tyres, it can lead to ride disturbances and will generally affect the car as you apply more speed.

Imbalances in the tyres may stem from production, which has not properly ensured even mass distribution.

Imbalances can also appear in the rim, or you may have worn your tyres down on one side for a longer period of time. If the difference is just 20-40 grams compared to the other tyres, it will be increased to several kilos when driving at high speed. It requires wheel balancing to remedy that problem.

Wheel balancing, or tyre balancing as many call it, is also usually done when you need to have new tyres fitted to your rims. This is to make sure that your tyres are fitted correctly and will drive with exactly the same weight on the road.

wheel balancing mechanic

How does wheel balancing work?

The mechanic will unmount the car's wheels and put them in a so-called wheel balancing machine. Here, the wheel will be turned, as a counterweight on the machine tracks the imbalance in the tyre, ie. where it has the lowest mass. It sends a signal to a computer that tells the mechanic where the imbalance is located.

The mechanic then makes sure to mount small wheel weights on the rim. This is done in different ways depending on whether you have alloy or steel rims. If you have steel rims on the wheel, the wheel weights are tapped on the edge of the rim. If you have alloy wheels, the wheel balancing weights are glued to the inside of the rim.

On some workshops' balancing machines, you can have the balancing done with road pressure. This basically means that the machine has several sensors installed, as well as an additional counterweight, so the wheel is even more precisely balanced.

How much is wheel balancing?

Balancing a single wheel usually costs 10 pounds excluding VAT. However, more often than not, you need to check all four wheels because you do not know where the imbalance is located. Therefore, the job may well amount to 40-50 pounds, but fortunately it is not a job that takes very long.

If you need both a tyre fitting and a wheel balancing cost, then the balancing is included in the price for the fitting. It normally costs 20 pounds excluding VAT per tyre, unless you have rims larger than 18 inches, in which case the price might increase.

What will happen if your car's wheels are unbalanced?

If just a few grams are sitting on one tyre more than the others, it can make a difference when you increase in speed. This will often result in ride disturbance, such as the car shaking and vibrating. You will also be able to feel it in steering wheel oscillations.

Further, over time, you can wear the tyres unevenly. This happens due to incorrect wheel alignment, and that causes asymmetries in the tyre mass. Uneven tyre wear will also result in shaking and ride disturbances at higher speeds.

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