How Unbalanced Tires Can Affect Driver Safety
August 7th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Most car owners know that driving on bald tires is unsafe. However, drivers may unknowingly put themselves and others by continuing to drive on bald tires for extended periods of time.
Safe driving requires motorists to consider themselves and others. Thus, if you believe your car tires are wearing down, you should get them inspected. If you are unsure if your tires need to be balanced, rotated, or replaced, you should keep an eye out for the signs of unbalanced tires. And if you notice any of these signs, you should get your tires checked out.
Signs of Unbalanced Tires
When tires have little or no tread left, they can’t grip the road properly, especially in wet conditions. This makes a car more susceptible to hydroplaning and skidding if you need to suddenly hit the brakes.
Cracked tires and over- or under-inflated tires can also pose safety risks, as they are more susceptible to sudden blowouts. As tires wear down over time, they may start to crack; if cracking goes unaddressed for too long, a tire may burst while you’re driving. Meanwhile, if a car’s tires are inadvertently over- or under-inflated, the tires are prone to premature wear, increasing the risk of a blowout.
There’s another tire problem that often gets overlooked and can impact your vehicle’s performance and your safety: unbalanced tires. A car’s tires can become unbalanced if the weight of any of the four tires isn’t evenly distributed around the wheel. Instead of delivering a smooth, consistent ride as you travel down the road, the tires may bounce, even on smooth, well-paved roads. This unwanted bouncing can lead to a number of problems that compromise the structural integrity of a tire and put your safety at risk.
What Unbalanced Tires Can Do To Your Car
There’s a reason tire shops insist on balancing a car’s tires when you put a new set on your vehicle: unbalanced tires are unsafe and cause many problems with the tires and your vehicle. These problems include:
- Too much vibration. When all four car tires are properly balanced, there is minimal risk of vibration. But, when your tires are unbalanced, vibration increases throughout your vehicle.
- Uneven tread wear.One advantage of having balanced car tires is the tread wears down evenly (as long as you keep them properly inflated), so all four tires are in the same condition. Conversely, when your tires are unbalanced, certain areas of a tire can wear down quicker than they should.
- Long-term car damage.Unbalanced car tires can cause damage to different parts of your vehicle. For example, driving with tires that aren’t properly balanced puts undue stress on your shocks, bearings, and wheel assembly.
- Increased fuel costs.Driving on tires out of balance may cause your fuel costs to rise. The faster you drive, the more out-of-balance tires will affect driving performance, further decreasing your fuel efficiency.
If your car tires are unbalanced, there is no need to stress. In fact, a fast, easy process is available that ensures you can balance your tires without delay.
Initially, car technicians look for damage and foreign materials in car tire and wheel assemblies. They then properly seat the wheels on the hubs and tighten the lug nuts. Once the technicians are done, they assess the tires and ensure they are properly installed, so you can get back on the road and drive safely once again.
Tire stores usually charge a balancing fee when you purchase a new set of tires. After you pay this one-time fee, many tire stores will rebalance your tires for free.
It often helps to rotate your tires every six months, too. This enhances tire performance and enables the tire tread to wear evenly.
Symptoms of Unbalanced Tires
The process of tires going from balanced to unbalanced tends to happen gradually over time, and it can difficult to identify unbalanced tires exclusively with a visual inspection. In addition, the symptoms of unbalanced tires are sometimes related to other factors. For example, uneven tread wear often results from failure to keep your tires properly inflated.
If you notice one or more of the following problems while driving, it’s time to have your tires checked:
1. Constant Vibration in Your Car’s Chassis
If your car constantly vibrates any time you’re on the road, your tires may have uneven wear or be imbalanced. To address this issue, you may need to get your tires balanced or rotated. Or, if the treads are severely worn or the misshapen, you may need to replace your tires altogether. If you have the tires balanced, rotated, or replaced and you still notice a constant vibration when you drive, you may be dealing with worn-out brake pads or rotors, suspension issues, or a defective axle.
2. Road Noises Seem Louder Than Before
If the tread wears down on your car tires, it may result in a noisy driving experience. Also, improper tire maintenance and damage may cause road noises to seem louder than before when traveling on different roads. So, if you notice excess noise, you should have your car checked out. This ensures you can identify any tire or other car issues that contribute to this problem.
3. You Get into an Accident That Damages Your Car’s Chassis or Wheel Assemblies
Your car’s chassis and wheel assemblies play essential roles in your ability to travel safely on the road. If you were involved in an accident that damages your car’s chassis or wheel assemblies, get your vehicle checked out right away. This allows you to identify any issues that will otherwise hamper your car’s performance.
4. You Strike a Curb or Another Hard Object
It may seem like a minor issue if you accidently strike a curb or another hard object while driving. Yet, the incident may cause tire damage that needs to be addressed. If you hit a curb or another hard object in your car, pull off to a safe spot on the side of the road and inspect your vehicle for damage. If you are uncertain if your car has been damaged, you may still want to get your vehicle checked out, as this ensures your car can be fully inspected by automotive professionals.
Even if you don’t notice any of the aforementioned signs of unbalanced tires, it’s good to see if your tires need to be rebalanced when you rotate them. Keeping all four tires properly balanced will help you stay safe on the road and prevent unnecessary damage to other parts of your car.
Of course, if you experience an accident caused by a tire blowout or other tire issues, the team at Fix Auto can help you repair your vehicle. We offer a variety of collision repair services, all of which are performed by friendly, knowledgeable technicians. To learn more or to book an appointment, please contact us online or call us today at 800.INFO.FIX.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Poway, a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the North County in San Diego.
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